10 tips to protect your wallet and your identity on vacation

Wherever your summer travel plans take you, make sure to take steps to guard against thefts. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON – The summer travel season is in full swing and pickpockets and identity thieves are standing ready to take advantage of relaxed and sunburnt tourists.

So how can you protect your credit and avoid ruining your vacation?

The credit monitoring firm Equifax offers some tips to protect both this summer:

  1. Tourist areas are prime targets for pickpockets. Go through your wallet and remove cards that you won’t need, such as your library card and any card with your full name on it.
  2. Put a hold on your mail. An overflowing mailbox is an invitation to a crook to come and steal personal information while you are out of town.
  3. Set up a travel alert on your credit cards.
  4. Lock important documents, including passports, in a safe while staying at a hotel.
  5. Keep news of your travels off social media. Don’t post anything that would alert thieves that you are not at home. You can Facebook photos and tweet how much fun you had once you return from your trip.
  6. Only use ATMs located in a bank.
  7. Don’t put your full name and address on luggage tags. Just your last name and a phone number will do.
  8. Don’t leave your used boarding passes on airplanes or in hotel rooms. Instead rip them up and toss them in the trash.
  9. Leave the laptop at home. If you must bring it, don’t access your bank account from any public location including your hotel room.
  10. Create a password to access your smartphone and enable the GPS function or download a GPS locator app to track the phone if it is lost or stolen.

WTOP’s Alan Etter contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.


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