iStockphoto

 

This post comes courtesy of Linden Garcia at Credit Sesame. Credit Sesame is the best way to see your free monthly credit score and find out how you can save on your credit, loans and mortgage. Using a proprietary algorithm, only Credit Sesame shows you the best ways that you can stop overpaying on your credit and loans and start saving!

If you’re traveling for the holidays, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is identity theft. But, going on vacation and traveling can leave you more susceptible than usual to identity theft.

Don’t let an identity theft take you by surprise this holiday season. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

Protect yourself while surfing online. If you need to log into the web from a non-personal computer, limit your use and try to avoid accessing your personal financial accounts. Some public computers have software downloaded on them that tracks keystrokes and records what you just typed –including your account information and passwords. If at all possible, try to use your personal computer for these transactions along with a safe, secure internet connection.

Limit the number of credit cards you carry. This reduces the ability of thieves to steal your credit card information. If you lose your purse or your wallet, you’ll only have to worry about canceling a few credit cards, rather than all of them. Before you go, make copies of the front and back of your credit cards, driver’s license and other important information before leaving. Save your documents in a password-protected Dropbox account (somewhere easily accessible) or leave them with a trusted family friend. If your wallet does get stolen, you’ll have access to all the necessary information and the credit card company’s contact information to report the fraud.

Let your credit card company know you’re going to be out of town. This allows your credit card company to monitor for fraud. If you’re traveling to Alabama but charges keep showing up in Maine, your credit card company will know that there is some sort of problem. Your credit card company will likely freeze your account until you call in and verify that you were the one making the charges.

Avoid generic ATMs. Known as card “skimming,” this allows an identity thief to obtain your ATM account information and pin number with virtually no effort on his or her part. The skimmer looks like part of the machine, so when you insert your credit card, it passes through the skimmer and collects your information. When your transaction is done, you get your card back and have no idea your information has just been stolen. Stick with bank ATMs at a bank branch to be safe or—better yet—an ATM from your bank if possible. Not only will it save you money in fees, but it should reduce exposing you to identity theft.

Don’t overshare vacation details online – either via Twitter, Facebook or some other means while traveling. If you do, it’s a red flag that you’re not home and it makes you a more likely target for theft. Instead, save the status updates, tweets, and pictures until after you’ve returned.

More Great Advice From Credit Sesame:

6 Surprising Ways to Make Your Gift Cards Count for More

How Reworking Your Budget Can Boost Your Credit Score

Ask the Expert: Should I Consider Layaway This Holiday Shopping Season?

How Medical Bills May Impact Your Credit Score