"When consumers plan vacations or business travel, they tend to be more focused on getting the right deals that work with their schedules and budget. It's easy to get distracted searching for the best deal and it's these distractions that sometimes cause us to make mistakes. We click on search results for companies we've never heard of and give more information than we need to on Internet travel sites or on the phone, which can put us at risk," said Steve Schwartz, EVP, Consumer Solutions for Intersections Inc.
Travel is expected to increase this year as indicated in a new Gallup Poll which finds six in 10 Americans say taking a summer vacation is a top priority. In addition, a new TripAdvisor poll finds that 86 percent of Americans said they intend to get away -- a three percent increase from last year. So as airlines, hotels and, car rental companies are predicting increased revenues from consumers and companies this summer, unfortunately, so are identity thieves.
"Travelers need to be just as vigilant on the road as they are at home," said ITAC President Anne Wallace. "By keeping credit cards close at hand, protecting their computers when at airports and in wireless, unsecured zones, they can help minimize the risk of identity theft. And we strongly recommend that travelers review their credit reports when they return so they can check for any suspicious activity."
In response to summer travel, Intersections and ITAC recommend the following safety tips for consumers traveling for pleasure and business:
1. Protect your home -- Have your mail collected or held at the Post Office, ideally have someone visit and turn lights on and off, and do not leave financial documents lying in plain view. 2. Avoid advertising your whereabouts on social networking sites-- This gives thieves the information they need to target empty homes. 3. Do not use geo-tracking - This is an extra tool for the bad guys to know your whereabouts and to potentially break into your home while you are away. 4. Guard your computer -- Protect yourself from key loggers, hackers, spammers, and botnets by installing anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your laptop computer. 5. Be aware of potential phone scams -- If you're staying at a hotel or motel and receive a call from the reception desk asking that you confirm a credit card number, tell them you'll provide the information at the front desk instead. 6. Limit the number of credit cards you bring with you-- Carry just one and keep a backup in the hotel safe. Keep a copy of the emergency contact numbers for your credit cards and bank accounts handy in case they're lost or stolen. 7. Limit debit card use -- It is not recommended that travelers use their debit cards while on vacation, but if they do, they should be cautious and protective of their PIN when withdrawing money. 8. Keep documents in a safe place -- Remove all documentation and cards from your wallet or purse that you don't need during your travels. 9. Back up your documents-- Make a photocopy of the cards and documents in your wallet or purse, including credit and ATM cards, store cards, drivers' licenses, to leave with someone you trust so you know what to cancel if your wallet is stolen. 10. Use a credit and public monitoring service-- If you're leaving for an extended period of time consider using a credit and public monitoring service that alerts you to potentially suspicious activity.
Intersections Inc. (Nasdaq: INTX) is a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. Eight million consumers are actively protected by Intersections' consumer and breach remediation services offered through North America's leading financial institutions, directly to consumers under its award-winning IDENTITY GUARD(r) brand (www.identityguard.com), and through its exclusive partnership with ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center. Since its inception in 1996, Intersections has protected 32 million consumers.
For advice, opinions, and the latest news on identity theft for consumers, visit http://www.IDGuardian.com. Twitter handle: IDGuardian.
ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center (http://www.identitytheftassistance.org/), is the national advocate for identity theft prevention and recovery, and a leading voice on identity policy. The ITAC victim assistance service, which is supported by member financial services companies, has helped tens of thousands of victims recover from identity theft. Millions of consumers have access to the ITAC victim assistance service through our members. ITAC is dedicated to protecting all consumers through education, research, and the criminal prosecution of identity crime. Through our partnership with Intersections Inc. (www.intersections.com/), ITAC's world-class victim assistance and identity management service is available to everyone through ITAC Sentinel(R) (www.itacsentinel.com/). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on the ITAC blog (www.itacidentityblog.com/)