By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Planning a trip this summer? Besides making your reservations and figuring out what to pack, how much thought are you giving to protecting your money? As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan reminds us, taking a few simple steps before, during and after your trip can protect your personal and financial information from identity thieves.
Between passports, credit cards, and other documents, travelers can be prime targets for scammers looking to swipe personal information. So Adam Levin of Identity Theft 911 advises that some items are best left at home.
“Make sure that you’re taking a limited number of documents with you, because documents, if they’re stolen, they can create a great deal of trouble for you,” Levin says.
Levin also recommends limiting the number of credit and debit cards you take on your trip. He says, “Keep one of each in the hotel safe in case your wallet is lost or stolen, and have your bank keep tabs on transactions.”
You also want to talk to them about giving you either text or email notifications of transactions occurring above a certain amount, or for any ATM transactions in the world.
When you get home, let your financial institutions know that. According to Levin, “Just confirm with your bank and your credit card company that you’re back, and that they should start to see transactions in the normal zone that they’re used to.” Then look at your statements online, to make sure everything adds up.
If you’re going overseas, or to Mexico or Canada, I highly suggest that you let your credit card company know in advance. Otherwise, you run a risk of having your purchases or card transactions rejected. It happens to travelers every year, and there is no need to waste time on your vacation trying to sort it out.