8 Must-Do’s Before Going on Vacation to Keep your Identity Secure

Roll down the windows and crank the stereo – just don’t forget to plan ahead

Summer might be winding down but you’ve still got time to grab some R&R before the kids head back to school. Whether you’re heading to Disneyland or just a few hours down the road, taking steps to protect your identity should be on your preplanning checklist, right along with sunscreen and the latest issue of People magazine. 

Take smart travel precautions and head to the beach

By using a little caution and following best practices, you can dramatically reduce your chances of having your identity stolen while you’re traveling.  We’ve put together these tips to help ensure you’ll be making happy memories wherever you may roam:

1. Inform your credit union or bank and your credit card company that you’re going out of town.

This is especially important advice if you plan on leaving the country. Otherwise, your financial institution could flag the transaction coming in from another city, state, or country as potential fraud and decline the transaction.

2. Sign up for bank alerts.

The ease and convenience of using text banking and e-Alerts enables you to stay informed about balances and account activity 24/7. For example, you can set up your account so that you receive an alert for every transaction over $50.  You can easily use the alert as a tool to help you identify any questionable transactions and receive low balance alerts to avoid possible overdrafts.

3. Backup your critical information.

You will want to have a list of your credit card information and phone numbers for card issuers in the event your cards are lost or stolen. It is also a good idea to photocopy your passport and airline tickets and keep these in the same place in case those are lost or stolen as well. Keep your photocopies separate from your wallet and cards, such as a hotel safe or a secure area, or leave it with a family member so that you can access it if needed.

4. Only pack documents you need.

Never take your Social Security card with you on your travels, and only carry the credit cards you’ll be using and leave the rest at home. It’s always a good idea to take an extra credit card as a backup but there’s no need to take department store credit cards unless you plan on shopping at those specific stores while away. Leave your checkbook at home.

5. Avoid ATM debit card theft.

Shy away from standalone or unusual looking ATMS. A much safer choice is to use ATMs located in and around banks. These machines have better security cameras and if you are going inside to use the ATM, there may also be a security guard around. This added security deters thieves from installing a skimmer into the machine. It also deters someone from standing too close behind you and using a hand held type of skimming device. Also, make sure to use your hand to cover the keypad when typing in your PIN, so anyone standing behind you can’t see your personal information. Thieves are known to watch someone type in their PIN and then follow them outside and steal their wallet or purse, and use their PIN to empty out their account, all in a manner of minutes.

6. Pay with your phone.

Envision a vacation where you’re not digging your credit card out of your purse or wallet to make payments several times during the day. With new mobile payment options (Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay) you can upload your card information into one of the apps on your phone and use it anywhere mobile payments are accepted. This technology is safer than using a traditional credit or debit card – every transaction on your iPhone or iPad requires you to authenticate with Touch ID or your passcode. Your card number and identity aren’t shared with the merchant, and your actual card numbers aren’t stored on your device or on the servers, so anyone who finds or steals your phone won’t be able to access that information.

7. Use secured online networks.

While it can be frustrating to be without the internet, it’s important to never use an unsecured internet connection, such as your hotel or at an area coffee shop. While free Wi-Fi can be convenient, remember that you are using a public network utilized by hundreds, if not thousands of people. Public Wi-Fi is easy to hack, so sensitive information, like email accounts and online banking, should never be accessed unless you are using a secure, password-protected network. Use free Wi-Fi to watch movies, surf the net, and catch up on the latest news but don’t make any financial transactions or share any sensitive, personal information. Instead, conduct your banking from your smartphone via your bank’s mobile app which offers a more secure option when you’re traveling—just be sure your phone is password-protected and you are using your wireless carrier’s network.

8. Protect your phone.

Set up a password on your smartphone, in case you lose it or it gets stolen. If your phone has the compatibility and you want the peace of mind knowing any stored data will not be accessed, you can remotely wipe your device. This way, if you think you will be unable to physically retrieve your phone, you can at least ensure that no one else gets their hands on the personal information in it too. All major smartphone platforms have some kind of remote erase capability.

Apple iPhone:

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch directions

Google Android:




Contact us anytime for help.

See more about ID theft prevention at adviacu.org.

Contact us at 844.ADVIA.CU (844.238.4228). Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) up to $250,000 per account. 

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