By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Planning a trip this holiday season? Besides making your reservations and figuring out what to pack, how much thought are you giving to protecting your identity and 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.
“We’re often more generous or more trustworthy during the holiday season, and it’s easier to take advantage of us. So, it combines for the perfect storm of holiday risk, which we all need to prevent,” said Trusted ID CEO, Scot Mitic.
Mitic suggests that lighten up your wallet around the holidays.
“You really only need your credit card and driver’s license. And there are wallet no-no’s, and they include first and foremost your social security card, which you have no need to carry whatsoever on a trip. And secondly your passport — if you’re not traveling internationally, just leave it at home,” said Mitic.
Need cash on the go? Choose an ATM carefully.
“Stand-alone ATM machines often have what is known as ‘card skimmers,’ which lead identity thieves to be able to take a copy of the magnetic strip on your credit and then reapply that information to a blank credit card at a later date and effectively have a perfect copy of your credit card,” said Mitic.
On Facebook and Twitter? Think twice about announcing you’ll be away.
“Now, many of us broadcast it to hundreds or even thousands of our friends when we leave the house. You know, there’s no need to overly publicize where you’re going,” said Mitic.
Finally, if you’re staying at a hotel, don’t leave valuables lying around the room. Use the room safe if there is one. Just because you’re in a more trusting mode around the holidays doesn’t mean housekeeping staff will avoid temptation, too.
For more information, visit: www.trustedid.com