5 ways to protect your identity while traveling

Losing something along the way is a constant concern for travelers -- especially when that "something" is your identity. Fortunately, with a little planning and due diligence, you can reduce your risk of identity theft while traveling, notes AP9 Privacy Matters 123, a leading membership security program offered by Adaptive Marketing LLC.

Wherever you go, there you are -- and so are identity thieves, whether it's a vacation destination or a business locale. AP9 Privacy Matters 123 therefore suggests that travelers take the following steps to ensure that their identities don't stray from them when they're on the road:
  • Look into travel assistance. A lot of credit card issuers and other financial institutions offer programs to help travelers access emergency assistance if their passports, credit/debit cards and other personal identifiers are lost or stolen. While these programs may not aid in recovering the missing items, they can reduce the replacement time significantly.
  • Book your accommodations wisely. A cheaper hotel rate may seem like a financial godsend to travelers -- until someone breaks into their room and steals their wallet, their laptop and other personal items. To reduce the likelihood of a break-in, look for lodging at reputable hotels and motels.
  • Lock down your home. Beyond simply securing the doors and windows, alert the police and trusted neighbors or friends to impending travel plans.
  • Some local police departments offer drive-by vacation checks to town residents, and having a close friend pick up the mail and newspapers can serve to hide obvious signs of absence. Putting timers on indoor lights to suggest that someone is home at night can also help mask travel plans.
  • Secure your documents. This applies to papers that are needed for traveling as well as those that are left behind. Any important documents left at home -- including bills, credit card and bank statements, and more -- should be put in a safe, secure place (like a home safe or even a bank safe) before departure.
  • Personal documents that are taken on the road should be kept in the hotel safe whenever they're not being used. While hotel safes aren't foolproof, rental cars and hotel rooms simply don't offer the protection against identity thieves that personal documents require.
  • Use computers cautiously. Make sure the security software is fully updated before taking a laptop on the road, and think twice before accessing personal accounts from or inputting personal data into a public computer. Identity thieves are clever, and they're not above putting spyware on a computer in the business center of a hotel.

Whether you're at home or on the road, it's probably safe to assume that identity thieves are around every corner. Even if they're not, acting as if they are can help keep you safe rather than sorry.