Stay safe when traveling
- Checks. Leave checkbooks and checks at home, in a
locked safe. Use cash, traveler’s checks or credit cards for
purchases. Chances are that you will not be writing checks. Leave these and any extra debit
cards or credit cards that you will not be using at home.
- ATM / Debit Cards & Credit Cards.
Consider restricting the use of your ATM card to securely located
Automated Teller Machines. Fake ATM machines are known to have been
placed in high traffic tourist areas. Debit cards also provide thieves
with a direct pipeline to your bank accounts. When used with a PIN, you
need not sign for the purchase. When used for a “credit” purchase with a
signature, no confirming PIN is needed.
- Use credit cards while traveling. Only credit cards are protected by
federal law as to the amount of money that you are responsible for if
lost or stolen, and most companies now extend a zero liability policy to
- Leave bills at home. Business
travelers often take advantage of quiet evenings in hotels to catch up
with bookkeeping and paying bills. Unfortunately many people have access
to your room while you are at meetings and victims have reported that
account information and check information has been stolen this way.
- Wallets. Don’t take anything
in your wallet that is not absolutely necessary. Leave all cards with
Social Security Numbers on them at home. If necessary, make a photocopy
of a health card, cut off the last 4 numbers of the Social Security
Number from the photocopy and carry that with you. Make sure that you
have an emergency phone number (contact person) for emergency medical
personnel to use.
- Put Things On Hold. Put your
mail on “postal hold” stating that for a period of time you wish to have
your mail held at the post office. We prefer that term rather than
“vacation hold” so that postal clerks will not know that you will be
gone. Learn more at:
- Make your home look lived-in. Arrange for friends or family you trust to
pick-up newspapers, mail, and advertisement flyers in order to avoid
drawing attention to your home. This will reduce the risk of break-ins
which may result in the loss of valuables, including your identity.
Nothing says “we’re out of town” more
than a pile of newspapers. Don’t forget to stop delivery until you
return. Also stop any other automatic deliveries, such as bottled water.
- Neighbors, relatives and
house-sitters. If you have someone that is going to check the house
and has a key to your house, then lock up any documents with account
numbers or Social Security Numbers.
- Register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: Visit
to enroll in STEP, which provides comprehensive traveler information,
including travel alerts and restrictions; information on visas or
vaccinations; crime, stability and road conditions; laws of the country
you’re visiting; and consular contact information.
Go through your wallet, purse and/or briefcase and remove any of the
following items prior to travel:
- Social Security card
- Check book & deposit slips
- Birth certificate
- Credit card receipts
- Extra Credit Cards
- Library card
- Video rental card
- Scan important
travel documents and store them in a secure online repository. In the
event that your information is lost or stolen, using an online
repository allows you to easily access copies of your passport, drivers
license, visa, and any other vital identification from anywhere in the
world. Remember to do this for every person traveling with you,
- Leave your debit card at home. Make
credit cards, not ATM cards, your card of choice.
- Minimize number of credit cards in
wallet. No more than two (2).
- Place all the removed items above
into a locked safe.
- Pay bills before you go out of town.
- Place mail on “postal hold” with the
Post Office. Arrange so mail may only be picked up by you and request
that identification must be shown to receive held mail.
- Stop delivery of newspapers or any
other items you may normally have delivered (water, automatically
scheduled deliveries of products, etc).
- Make copies of your itinerary,
passport data page, visas and driver’s license to leave with designated
- Notify a neighbor to watch your
house. Let them know you are not moving.
Don't leave important documents in your car. very often people leave their important documents in the car thinking that the documents are safe. Your documents will be as safe as your car might be.
Never leave your personal documents unsecured in the hotel rooms. this
rule specially applies to global travel security where certain passports may
be valuable. Lock up all valuables in room safes or hotel safes while you
are out of your room. That includes laptops, PDA's, jewelry, passports, and
other documents that contain personal identifying information or that would
be of interest to a thief. A suitcase is not a secure way to lock up
- Beware of pickpockets. While pickpocketing has been on the decline in the U.S for the past fifty years or so, it’s still a major problem in Europe. Pickpockets often work in groups, are often children and are typically well-dressed. Be extra vigilant around tourist attractions, public transportation, restaurants, bars and hotel lobbies.
Carry valuables safely. Your valuables and
identification are a mere swipe away from a purse snatcher or pickpocket.
Money belts kept under clothing are the safest. For stowing cash, credit
cards and identification, inside pockets and sturdy shoulder bags with
straps across the chest are much better than handbags, fanny packs or
outside pockets. Vacation travelers should use fanny packs or travel pouches that are worn inside your
shirt to carry important documents. Business travelers should be aware that
pickpockets are also looking for laptops and PDA's that are temporarily out
of your control- at airports, in lobbies and in dining areas.
Shoulder surfers. Besides pickpockets, identity thieves take
advantage of people via shoulder surfing. "Shoulder Surfing" used to only
apply to those who looked "over your shoulder" to see information. With the
common use of cell phones, it is important to remember that you are in a
public venue and may talk about things that a thief can use.
Back-up material: Carry photocopies of all travel documents including
plane tickets, hotel reservations and passports. Keep these in a separate
location from the originals.
Public restrooms. Ladies, do not hang your purse from a hook on the
door. It is too easy for someone to reach over the top of the door and take
it before you have time to react. The best place to store your purse while
in the restroom is beside you or hung around your body.
place valuable information on computers. unless you secure that
computer like you secure your ID card or driver's license. More often than
not, sensitive information is placed on laptops which are carried around to
public areas like restaurants, pools and bars without any regard for travel
security risks. Individuals and businesses need to understand the identity
theft risks associated with taking laptops containing sensitive information
with them when they travel and develop policies and procedures to properly
address the security of their information.
the copies. Carry photocopies instead of the originals when
necessary and possible. For example, copies of passports are not acceptable
forms of identification; however, copies of birth certificates may be in
some cases when presented with other original documents. So, it is not
necessary to carry all originals all the time.
Beware of your surroundings. when using your secret codes to access
cash at ATMs, use your debit card at stores where you have to enter a PIN,
access your personal or business laptop computer in public areas like
airports, send e-mails, or access your voicemails, beware of your
surroundings and the eyes looking over your shoulders. Cover your hand when
typing the secret code. Don't be embarrassed as we all might get sometimes
when we try hard to be secretive. It's better to be safe than sorry. After
all, you are your own true travel security agent. Read about access code
prepared to deal with a lost or stolen passport case. know what to
do immediately in case of stolen or lost passport during your trips or at
home to prevent identity theft. Always be prepared for the worst case
scenario. Assuming you may lose your passport or other travel and personal
information during a trip, be prepared and have a plan 'B' to notify and get
passport replacement in order to move on with your travel arrangements.
Copies of your birth certificate and passport or phone numbers of your
credit card companies come in very handy when you need them, especially, if
you're out of town and lose your credit card or passport. So, be prepared
and have a contingency plan for any personal document loss, as part of your
overall travel security plans.
check-in your personal documentation. never place your personal and
travel documents in a luggage which you intend to check-in at the airports.
Once you do that, you have just lost control over security of your personal
identity theft when you visit the gym. If you think your personal
items are safe at your favorite gym and health club while you work out,
think again. Protect your personal belongings while you work out at the
your belongings on the plane. To ensure travel security by air,
always place your personal belongings in an overhead compartment on the
opposite side of the aisle you are seating. This way, you can detect any
unauthorized search and theft of your personal items during the flight. In
any full flight, people reorganize the overhead compartments to make room
for their own items and someone may go through your items or even steal your
items while pretending to be looking for extra space.
Travel with your items in the security
chain. When you go through the travel security checks at the
airports, make sure your items don't travel in the x-ray machine faster than
you go through your body scan as they may be vulnerable to theft at the end
of the scan process if you encounter delays in your own body scan process.
Make sure you send your family members through the scans first and submit
your valuable personal items right when you're ready to go through the scans
Take caution with public computers and Wi-Fi. If possible, avoid using public computers to access anything sensitive, such
as conducting online banking, making purchases, or accessing email accounts.
These computers could potentially have malware that is designed to capture
the information you have entered. Avoid these same activities when using a
public Wi-Fi connection as the information can easily be captured by
criminals on the same connection. Make sure to use an encrypted Internet
connection whenever you go online.
Be aware of social media updates. We all
like to share photos online with our family and friends as we are traveling.
However, when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where
you are not – at home.