Protecting Your Identity While Traveling Abroad 


There are three major items that can lead to a compromise of your identity when traveling your credit cards, your wallet, and your laptop. While everyone knows to protect these items, you may not be aware of all the different risks that are out there. You can only guard against what you know keeping yourself informed on the latest scams and frauds is extremely important when you're traveling.


The first item your credit card is usually one of the safest items you can carry as far as eliminating possible loss. However, how you protect that card will set the limits on what can be taken from you. When traveling, you should always carry cards that offer a fraud protection program. Many credit card companies now offer a level of protection into the thousands if your card is stolen and used without your permission while you're traveling.


However, you'll need to leave any credit cards that list your social security number or birth date on them at home. You also need to protect your pin number. Most banks recommend memorizing your pin and never writing it down anywhere. With some credit card companies, all you need is the number and the pin to access private information. You may even want to consider locking credit cards in a hotel safe if they won't be used. Never leave your credit cards unsecured in your room no matter how trustworthy the hotel staff seems.


Many people carry every detail about their lives with them in their wallets and purses. Obviously, this isn't a good practice. When you're on the road, you should carry vital information that may be required on your trip. Birth certificates, social security cards and other items are rarely needed on a trip. You should also consider whether you have any personal contacts in your wallet. Some people carry their email user IDs and passwords in their wallets, which can be very unsafe with the vast number of Internet scams out there today. You should also try to carry as little cash with you as possible. Cash can't be replaced in the event of theft travelers' checks are a much safer way to go.


Your laptop can also be an open door for thieves to walk through and take your data. In many cases, thieves will setup a wireless network close to hotels and coffee houses, making these networks more powerful than the signal from the business so that your laptop will pick them up. If you download bank statements or credit card reports through these networks, crooks can tap right in to your computer and steal all your data. Your safest bet if you're away from a local connection you know is to plug in your computer to a dedicated line. While there are still ways for thieves to access these connections, it's still harder for them to hack into your computer.


Of course, your best option in protecting your identity while traveling is to leave everything you don't need at home. Try to take only things you can carry on your person or lock in the hotel safe. Don't think that a locked vehicle or hotel room is good protection. In today's age, you must protect your identity it can take years and thousands of dollars to fix if your personal information winds up in the wrong hands.