Ways to Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling

Tips for avoiding scams and theft while traveling are a staple of the travel writing genre; pretty much every guidebook or travel website dedicates some space to the subject. Certainly we have our own capacious resources, most of which can be found out on the internet.

But in the 21st century, you are as much at risk of having your identity stolen — or more accurately your financial and digital identity — as you are of getting “mugged,” which almost sounds quaint these days (though I do not intend in any way to underplay the misery and danger of actually getting mugged).

Credit: Wonder Natural

Identity theft is a growing problem worldwide — especially for travelers, who are very vulnerable, forced as they are to use unsecured Internet connections, carry extensive personal documentation with them at all times, and share their credit cards with merchants about whom they know nothing and whom they’ll never see again.

Modern technology hasn’t made it any easier for honest folks to avoid identity theft, either; witness the practice of websites like Facebook and LinkedIn, which often keep you logged in to the site, even after you close your browser or turn off your computer. Someone getting unfettered access to your closest friends on Facebook could definitely shake out some very “helpful” information before you knew it.

As time and technology advance, this problem is only going to affect more travelers. Here are 11 tips to avoid identity theft while traveling, right now.

1. “Unpack” Critical Documents Before Travel

2. Guard Your Documents

3. Be Very Careful About Shared and Insecure Internet Connections

4. Delete All Cookies and Browsing History on Public Terminals

5. Use a Dedicated Travel E-mail Address

6. Use Only Bank ATM’s

7. Check Your Credit Card Statements on Occasion

8. Keep Your Cell Phone Secure

9. Protect Your Children Too

10. Change Passwords and PIN’s

11. Follow Up After Your Trip