Monday, July 20, 2009

Tips for summer travel - protecting against identity theft

Many families are looking forward to the last of their summer vacation plans, be they travel abroad or closer to home.

IdentityTruth, the leading provider of a new breed of services to help consumers safeguard their privacy and identity, today offers tips to families who are planning summer vacations to help them protect themselves against identity theft. Whether road-tripping in the US or travelling abroad, vacation time means an increased likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft.

IdentityTruth shares the following tips:

· Know where your credit cards/debit cards are at all times: Keep credit card/debit card(s) on you at all times. Don’t leave them at a bar to run a tab because it can lead to the card being compromised.

· Double-check credit card receipts when traveling out of the country: Some receipts still print out the cardholder’s full name and credit card number. If you’re going to throw receipts in trash, be sure to shred them.

· Minimize the number of documents carried: Carrying more documents means more potential for loss and/or theft. Keep important documents in a hotel safe and only carry what’s necessary.

· Be careful when using ATMs: Only use ATMs with monitoring cameras, such as those in bank lobbies. Avoid kiosk ATMs, those freestanding units often do not have cameras and are statistically more likely to be infected by skimmers (electronic devices that allow thieves to record account and PIN numbers). "Shoulder Surfing" can also be a problem at bars or crowded resorts. While you assume that the man behind you is uncomfortably close because of the crowded space, he may actually be looking over your shoulder trying to get your login.

· Pay cash whenever possible or use credit cards instead of debit cards: Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, Credit Cards provide consumers protection against fraudulent charges and your liability is limited to $50. You also have the right to dispute charges and withhold payment during investigation. However, debit cards are entirely different. Although they market themselves to deliver the same protection, they are not required to by any law. Bottom line, your liability for fraudulent charges is the entire amount in your checking account as well as the credit line you have been authorized to receive.

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