You’ve made it home safely after braving gastronomic adventures at greasy spoons, drinking from questionable water sources, and surviving white-knuckled taxi rides. Now, post those vacation pictures on social media and wrap up the loose ends of protecting your identity.
Monitor Your Accounts: Shortly after you return from your travels, pay special attention to your account statements to make sure that nothing out of the ordinary appears. If a credit card number or bank account number was stolen during your trip, this is how you will catch it early and keep it from becoming a major nightmare. Contact your provider and alert them to the breach immediately.
Get a credit report: Hopefully you’ve monitored your accounts throughout the trip. When you get home, request a report at www.annualcreditreport.com. Check your credit report for any suspicious activity. Even if you don’t see any unfamiliar transactions, that still doesn’t mean you’re safe.Identity thieves are known to take their time and act when you least expect it, so continue monitoring!
Welcome to the third (and longest!) part of our four-part series on travel safety. We’ve covered “Planning Your Trip” and what to do “Before You Go” Today we’ll go through the many important things to consider while you’re “On the Road”. Be sure to check back tomorrow for our final installment of what to do “When You Return”.
1. Travel Light:
If you don’t have to take it with you, increase your safety and leave it at home. This includes:
Checkbooks: Do not carry checks or take only one or two for an emergency, placing them with your cash in your money belt. Checking account takeover is one of the simplest crimes to commit and one of the most devastating types of financial fraud from which to recover. The easy alternative? Use a credit card or cash.
This is part two of our four-part series on travel safety. Yesterday we covered “Planning Your Trip” and in the next few days we’ll discuss “On the Road” and “When You Return”. For today, we’ll look at steps to take after your trip is planned, but before you go.
Photocopy the contents of your wallet/documents: Or make a list of all the contents and all your travel documents to carry with you in a protected place as you travel. It’s also a good idea to leave a copy at home with a trustworthy person whom you can contact. It will save you hours of frustration if anything is lost or stolen.
Protect your accounts: Place a travel alert on your credit card accounts so the bank will know why charges from some lovely resort are suddenly showing up. You can also freeze your credit so no new accounts can be opened while you are away. Finally, turn on automatic account alerts on your credit card to easily monitor all transaction (via smartphone) without having to look at statements.
Today I begin a four-part series on travel safety to protect your identity before during and after your trip. I’ve tried to make this series comprehensive for all stages of travel. Today we’ll cover Planning Your Trip , to be followed in days to come by: Before You Go, On the Road and When You Return.
While you may be aware of the basics, the lists in these blogs show you how to think like the criminals think. Be proactive and outwit them at their own game!
Use a legitimate agency: Verify the business you are booking your trip through. If you are going to use a travel agency or online booking company, make sure they are authentic first. Go online and do your research – if people have been swindled before by the company, the Internet is the first place they will go to vent. You can even ask the company for references so you can check up on some satisfied customers. Also, investigate the travel companies with the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) and the attorney general’s office in the state where the company does business. (www.naag.org).
When you read an account of the devastating “Black Death” Plague that spread across Europe and Asia in Medieval times, it’s impossible not to be awed by the statistics. In just five years, one-third of Europe’s population, 25 million people, were dead. It hit so fast and so unexpectedly that people were unable to protect themselves. As one writer summarized, “A terrible killer was loose across Europe, and medieval medicine had nothing to combat it.”
While experiencing medical identity theft isn’t always as devastating as dying from the plague, it’s easy to draw some parallels.
Both affect people in such a way that they are completely unaware of it until it is often too late? Check.
It can spread unexpectedly fast? Check.
The victims are not limited to one group, whether by country, age, race, or socioeconomic class? Check.
Tax season can be a stressful time of year for individuals and business owners alike, especially those who fail to plan in advance and then sacrifice focus and performance as they race to meet the filing deadline. But that stress is nothing compared to the potential destruction of your financial reputation brought on by tax-time identity theft. And tax-related identity theft is on a precipitous rise.
An audit published on July 19, 2012 by the U.S. Treasury Department, found that the IRS paid fraudulent tax returns to identity thieves worth a total of $5 Billion in 2011. The study also predicted that the IRS (and therefore, you as a taxpayer) will lose an estimated $21 Billion in fraudulent claims over the next five years. Tax-related information is the Holy Grail of identity theft because it contains virtually every piece of information, including a Social Security number (SSN), which a fraudster needs to defraud you.
More than 80 million patient records were stolen out of Anthem’s servers.
If you are an Anthem, Blue Cross or Blue Shield customer, now or in the past, you are probably affected by the breach.
The data stolen included at least Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, email addresses and employment information.
Not included in the breach (or at least disclosed as being part) were credit card numbers or medical data.
Why is the Anthem breach so serious?
When breach includes so much data on each victim, especially your Social Security number, it makes it fairly easy for cyber criminals and identity thieves to create new accounts in your name or takeover existing financial accounts. In other words, they can bank as you, borrow as you and pose as you in order to financially exploit you.