How to protect yourself from identity theft while on vacation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It can happen in seconds, your personal information gets stolen! That can turn your summer vacation into a nightmare.

Thirty percent of travelers have experienced identity theft or know someone who has. Ravi Mehra’s credit card got hacked on a business trip, with several charges to a gaming site, and saw the charges on his credit card statement.

“There were a few charges, like $35 in  charges,” Mehra said.

Now he takes more precautions, only using his credit card to book hotels and flights.

“When I travel I definitely don’t use my credit cards,” he said.

Kathy Sudeikis with Acendas Travel Agency says it’s a new problem, but vacationers are vulnerable.

“I think we’re an easier mark when we are on vacation, we are distracted we are thinking of other things,” she said.

According to Experian’s survey, hotels top the list of identity theft hot spots followed by restaurants, airports, taxis and car rentals.

Sudeikis says a common scam is thieves putting a small charge on your card, like $1.60, then reversing the charge to see if it goes through. If it does then they go for a bigger charge, a couple hundred or a thousand dollars.

The good news is that credit card company’s fraud divisions are monitoring for scams like this, or unusual charges, and can alert customers quickly that their card has been compromised.

Don’t take your entire wallet, instead take a driver’s license, one credit card or debit card. Don’t take your social security card with you.

Also, use the hotel room safe, only 35 percent of travelers do!

When Karen Tritt travels, that’s a deal breaker.

“We use it all the time, and so much so when my husband makes arrangements, having a safe in the room is key part of the arrangements,” she explained.

Other safety measures to take: Make your smartphone password protected, avoid wi-fi unless there’s a password and
bank at the branch to avoid skimming at ATMs in touristy areas.

When you get home, check your credit card statement and report fraudulent charges to the company. Contact the credit reporting agencies too, here is the contact information:

Equifax:1-800-685-1111; equifax.com

Experian: 1-888-397-3742; experian.com

Transunion: 1-800-916-8800; transunion.com

Article source: http://fox4kc.com/2014/07/21/how-to-protect-yourself-from-identity-theft-while-on-vacation/

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