It’s spring and that means it is time for spring break – for many families and students, this means a trip to the beach or some other spot.
But for identity thieves, this means it’s time to get to work.
When most people travel, they carry sensitive information with them, like identification documents like a passport, and credit and debit cards. Add this to the fact that you’re in an unfamiliar place, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
So how do you keep this from happening to you and ruining your trip to the beach? First, don’t carry your Social Security card with you. There’s no need to, and you should make sure that it’s locked away safely at home. Your SSN is the No. 1 thing a criminal needs to steal your identity and ruin your credit.
Don’t leave your personal documents in a hotel room, and make sure you only carry the minimum. Check with your hotel to see if they have a safe you can lock up your items in when you don’t need them.
Never write your name and address on luggage tags. Once your luggage is out of your sight, you don’t know who has access to it or what they’ll do with it. You shouldn’t leave documents bearing your personal information in your suitcases en route either. Check into a belt with a zippered pouch that fits inside your shirt or pants that can store your documents until you reach your destination.
Last of all, keep your eyes and ears open. Be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye out for people who get too close, particularly when you’re using an ATM or inputing your PIN.