Passenger in airport
Passenger in airport

Identity theft is prevalent and it is becoming easier all the time for identity thieves to steal your information. As part of my series on Summer Travel Precautions, I look at 4 ways to avoid identity theft on the road.

1. Scale down your wallet.
Chances are you won’t need that library card or gym membership on your trip unless the city you’re visiting has a reciprocal program. Take out every card you do not need and eliminate anything else that has your personal information on it.

2. Invest in RFID blockers.
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. It is a way for thieves to walk by you and remotely collect your credit card information and other personal information with a device that reads and transmits electronically. This has become a big problem in airports. Thieves no longer need access to your actual cards. A wide range of RFID blocking wallets and purses are now widely available online and in travel gear stores.

3. Be selective about your ATMs.
Be picky about where you get your money. Only use ATMs at a bank or in your hotel. Using ATMs in well-lit public places reduces your chances of hitting one where a “sniffer” has been installed to collect your information.

4. Be weary of Wi-Fi.
You best bet is to use the internet service at your hotel. If you must use an outside source, use a trusted or recommended location for Wi-Fi service. It is easy for anyone to set up Free or Public internet service but it could also be a cover for collecting personal information while you’re busy. Searching for restaurants or directions is fine, but I do not recommend using the Wi-Fi at any of these public establishments to access your bank account or other personal information. Be sure you always log off.

Identity theft is a booming business. Thieves are difficult to track and they can rack up lots of expenses using your good name long before you can catch up to them. An ounce of prevention goes a long way especially when you are traveling when it may be days, weeks or months before you realize something is wrong.