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Protect your identity while on vacation

The last thing you want to think of as you are relaxing on vacation is a lost wallet or a stolen identity.

That’s why preparing for a trip requires more than a packing list. Before departing for your destination, read up on tips to prevent a stolen identity and know what to do if you lose your wallet.

How to prevent identity theft on vacation

Travel notifications

Let Numerica know if you’ll be traveling, especially if you’re leaving the country. Numerica is vigilant about detecting unusual activity on your credit and debit cards. Your card may be blocked if we notice unusual transactions. Far-off destinations or high spending on adventures outside what you normally spend may be a red flag for your account.

Fortunately, travel notices are simple to set up anytime using Online Banking and the Mobile App. This is also a great time to make sure we can reach you when you are away.

Fraud text alerts

Did you know you can get real-time fraud alerts for free?

If you have access to text messages on your vacation, alerts like these put you in the driver’s seat for reviewing suspicious account activity. If you reply to a transaction as fraud, you will need to contact Numerica directly before your card is activated again. Heads up — this can cause issues if you are in a different time zone or out of the country, so it’s smart to have access to additional payment options if your card is compromised.

Card Freeze

What should you do when your credit card or debit card is misplaced, but you are unsure if it is lost or stolen? Enter Card Freeze. This free service doesn’t cancel your card; it just puts a temporary hold on your card and can easily be unfrozen when you find it. It’s so easy, in fact, that it’s a toggle switch in Online Banking and the Mobile App.

Stop your mail

Your mail can be a treasure trove for identity theft criminals! Keep your credit card pre-approvals, bills, etc. out of the hands of potential identity thieves while you are on vacation or away from your house.

If you'll be gone for an extended time, stop your mail at the post office in person or by applying online. You can select the dates you will be gone and when you will be back. The post office will resume delivery on whatever day you choose.

Be careful what you share on social

When there is snow on the ground, resist the urge to post a play-by-play of your beach vacation. Pre-posting your itinerary of when and where you will be traveling can make you a prime target for fraudsters.

Check out all the ways social media might be putting you at risk for identity theft.

Be careful on public Wi-Fi

Every time you use public Wi-Fi networks, your data is at risk. Even password-protected public Wi-Fi networks can be easily hacked. Hackers may be able to access public networks and see information you send, including account numbers, logins, and passwords.

If you’re planning on using public Wi-Fi, turn off your auto-connect to wireless networks. Make sure you actually go to a https and have to log in to access the public Wi-Fi. Stay off websites that include your personal information, and never log in to a network that is not password protected.

Install phone-tracker software

If your device goes missing while you are on vacation, you may be able to use “find my phone” or similar software to pinpoint its location and retrieve it. Enabling lock screens on your electronics is another way to prevent your information from falling into the wrong hands.

ATM best practices

Before using an ATM you’re not familiar with, check for exposed wires, bulkiness where you would insert your card, or anything that looks odd. These could be signs of a skimming device that can lift data from your card.

Remember to never write down your PIN on or near your card. If the kids need to run down to the snack cart and you give out your PIN, you are responsible for any future purchases they make on the card as well.

Thinking it might be time to change your PIN? Give us a call, stop by a branch, or update it the next time you use a Numerica ATM.

Clean out your wallet

Tourist destinations are a haven for pickpockets. While it's important to have multiple ways to pay, that doesn't mean you must take all your cards with you. The fewer sensitive documents you have on you while you are on vacation, the better.

Consider making copies of your driver’s license and passport. If your hotel has a safe, keep those items in a safe and carry the copies. Speaking of safes, it’s smart to keep all valuables locked up when not in use. This applies to your credit cards, electronic devices, and important information.

What to do if your wallet is stolen while you are traveling

If your wallet is stolen on vacation, follow the steps below to limit the amount of exposure to your accounts.

Cancel debit and credit cards immediately

Using Card Freeze is not a substitute for informing Numerica if your card has been lost or stolen. If you believe your card is lost or stolen, call us immediately at 800.433.1837 so we can permanently block the card and send you a new card with a new number.

You can also permanently block your card by signing in to Online Banking, selecting Cards and then clicking Block card permanently. Using the Mobile App, tap Cards and then the three dots next to the card you want to block.

File a police report

If your wallet was stolen, file a police report to alert the proper authorities. Make sure to get a copy of the police report number. This is often required for insurance claims. Plus, if your wallet does turn up, the police will know who to reach out to.

Keep an eye on your credit

Identity theft attempts may take a while to show. It’s important to routinely check your accounts and annually review your credit reports.

Being the victim of a stolen identity can be overwhelming. Remember, we are here to help. If anything sets off a fraud bell, look into it immediately and contact Numerica.

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May 28, 2023