According to ConsumerAffairs.com, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) processed 1.4 million fraud reports in 2018, and the most common forms fell into the following categories:
- Imposter scams
- Debt collection
- Identity theft
Identity theft has become a growing problem for Americans over the past decade with online shopping having grown into its own industry. Another issue stems from people not being careful enough with their sensitive financial information. While many families will plan to take holiday vacations this fall, a major concern that they may not consider is protecting their personal information.
Families run the risk of having their identities stolen when they travel with social security cards or credit cards. Our credit union in Harlingen wants to offer peace of mind this holiday season by providing a few tips to help you avoid having your identity stolen while traveling.
Change Your Social Media Habits
Using social media while vacationing can have some drawbacks. Primarily, it allows scammers to know that you’ll be away from home, leaving your residence unsupervised.
Protect yourself and your loved ones by:
- Turning off location settings on your posts so scammers will be unaware that you’re out of town.
- Waiting to show off your holiday trip until you return home.
- Avoiding announcing your vacation on social media and only informing those that you trust, like family and close friends.
Secure Your Valuables
Don’t leave personal information out in the open at home while you’re vacationing. The best thing you can do is stash checkbooks and other financially sensitive documents in a secure, fireproof safe. You should also consider protecting your valuables in a safety deposit box at our credit union in Harlingen if you feel that a safe at home isn’t enough.
Be Cyber Secure
A more recent form of identity theft has been committed with radio-frequency-identification (RFID) scanners and stickers. A scammer can walk through a crowded area like an airport and wirelessly pick up hundreds of people’s financial and personal information with these RFID scanners. Many debit cards, credit cards, passports, and even laptops use RFID chips.
But you can protect yourself even if you have products equipped with RFID chips. Do so by:
- Investing in RFID debit card protectors. These thin card protectors prevent scanners from wirelessly picking up info from your passports and cards.
- Speaking with our credit union to see if your card has an RFID chip installed so you can decide whether to travel with it or not.
Learn More About Identity Theft
Read one of our previous blogs on how identity theft can affect you. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more helpful tips this holiday season! Also, contact us today to learn more about our services.