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Consumer Focus: Keep Your Identity Safe this Summer
Monday, July 8, 2013 4:50 AM

According to an AAA survey, two-thirds (66 percent) of U.S. adults plan to take a leisure trip this summer. The survey also finds that 22 percent are planning one trip, 16 percent are planning two trips and the 29 percent are planning three or more trips. Although most vacationers probably aren’t thinking about the threat of identity theft, TransUnion is encouraging them to keep their identity safe while enjoying their summer vacations.

"Unfortunately, criminals are always thinking of ways to steal your identity and identity thieves love the summer months because you let your guard down, which means an open door for the criminal to gather the information needed to steal your identity," said Julie Springer, vice president responsible for consumer education at TransUnion.

Identity theft can ruin a vacation and cause a lot of grief and work. TransUnion provides the following tips to better protect your identity from thieves while enjoying a great vacation.

  • Keep your credit cards near you at all times
  • Be aware of your surroundings when using an ATM. Use one inside when available.
  • Consider contacting your financial institution and credit card companies and let them know where you will be and the dates you will be away. Many financial institutions will help monitor your accounts for unauthorized transactions in other locations during this time, because it reduces their liability if a criminal gains access to your accounts.
  • Use hotel safes when you can't take your cards with you. Be sure only you know the combination.
  • Do not use your credit card number on public computers. If you have to do this, be sure it's a secure site and your information is removed prior to leaving the computer.
  • When using your credit card to pay, watch the transaction completely through. Be sure no one is writing down your number or taking a picture of your card.
  • Never give your number to anyone over the phone, even the hotel staff. If someone at the hotel requests your number, walk down to the front desk to confirm the reason for the request and the validity of it.