Protect your identity while on vacation
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Just as important as what to pack, preparing for vacation should include protecting your identity and preventing identity theft. The last thing you want to think of as you are relaxing on vacation, is a lost wallet or a stolen identity!
How to prevent identity theft on vacation
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 of what you normally spend would be a red flag for your account.
By notifying us before you leave home, we are able to see the big picture. This is also a great time to make sure we can reach you when you are away. Keep in mind that we will never ask you for your full Social Security Number to verify your information!
Did you know you can get real-time fraud alerts for free?
Keep in mind if you misplace your card you can freeze it. This service is available for all Numerica Visa debit and credit cards for free. Card Freeze doesn’t cancel your card, it just puts a temporary hold on your card and can easily be unfrozen when you find it.
Pay close attention! If you reply to a transaction as fraud you will need to contact Numerica directly before your card is activated again. This can cause issues if you are in a different time zone, out of the country, it is a holiday, or it is a weekend.
Stop your mail while you’re gone
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 post on social media while on vacation
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 spots
Every time you use public Wi-Fi networks, your data is at risk! Even those Wi-Fi networks that use a password can easily be 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 that you actually go to an https and have to login to access the public Wi-Fi. Stay off websites that include your personal information and never login 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.
Be careful around ATMs
A couple of things to be aware of here!
Look before you swipe. Before using the ATM, check for exposed wires, bulkiness where you would insert your card and anything that looks odd. These are signs of a skimming device that can lift the 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 you need to change your PIN? Give us a call.
Be aware, foreign currency exchange fees and conversion rates may apply.
Clean out your wallet pre-vacation
Tourist destinations are a haven for pickpockets. While it's important to have multiple ways to pay, that doesn't mean you take all your cards out 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 or passport card. Assuming your hotel has a safe, keep those items in a safe and carry the copies. (Unless you’re driving, of course!)
Don’t leave personal information lying around your hotel room
If you aren’t using it, keep it locked up in the hotel safe. This applies to your credit cards, electronic devices like your Kindle or phone, and other important information.
What to do if your wallet is stolen while you are traveling
Hopefully, these tips will limit the amount of exposure to your accounts. If your wallet is stolen on vacation, make sure to follow these steps.
Cancel any debit or credit cards immediately
Using Card Freeze is not a substitute for informing Numerica if you card has been lost or stolen. If you believe your card is lost or stolen, please contact 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 into your account online under the E-Services>Block Card option.
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 routinely check your accounts and review your credit reports annually. 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 at 800.433.1837.