I read a sobering statistic from Erik Knight, a 20-year security veteran: 27 thousand Americans have their identities stolen each day.  Upon further research, victims of identity theft lose some $20 billion in cash and valuables each year.  Egads, these are frightening statistics!  I’m going to do a 2-part series on how to protect your identify while traveling.

Eric Knight headshotHere are seven tips from Mr. Knight, who founded DirtSearch.org, a site that compiles free public records:

1. Check travel companies with the Better Business Bureau (BBB): Before you sign up for that next travel deal, make sure that the company is legit. Entering credit card information on sites that aren’t, can only result in trouble. You may also want to ensure that you take precautions at home to lock up precious items and make your house look ‘lived’ in.

2. Don’t carry large sums of cash: If you have multiple credit cards while traveling, always store them in different places. If your wallet gets stolen, you will have your backup plan.

3. Make copies of important documents such as passports, driver’s license and all credit cards: If you are overseas and someone steals your passport or license, it is important to have a backup copy so that you don’t need to take a trip to the American Embassy.

4. Make sure your credit card is hidden at all times: You are at the airline counter and the reservationist is taking your credit card for luggage charges, you should not leave your credit card open on the table for all to see. Someone can easily come behind you, snap a picture of that information and steal your identity.

5. Use a debit card as a credit card: Sometimes it may make sense to get a $500 prepaid card. If you are using a debit card make sure you run the card as credit, not debit, because you don’t want to give away your PIN number.

6. Call your credit card company in advance: Call your credit card company to let them know you are traveling and where you will be. This can prevent your card company from viewing these charges as suspicious and declining them because they’re made in another country.

7. Make sure you keep receipts: When traveling overseas especially conversion rates can be tough. Keep receipts to ensure no overcharges because you can always dispute any charges later. Without good record keeping you are at anyone’s mercy.

Thanks Erik!  GREAT advice.

Be on the look for more information on this topic next week!!