How Do I Protect My Information When I Travel?
As people get older, many take the additional free time they used to have occupied by work to travel. In fact, The American Association of Retired Persons reported that seniors plan to take at least four to five trips a year, which is the highest ever.
Unfortunately, seniors are often the targets for thieves that are looking to steal physical money or identities. Before taking flight, make sure to follow these tips to ensure your information is safe!
Watch Out For Scams
There are many scams targeting seniors before they even leave or book for their vacations. According to the National Council on Aging, travel scams target seniors because seniors are believed to have money to their name.
These are usually done over the phone or online, where seniors are usually less savvy with technology and are more prone to falling victim to these scams.
Typical scam offers may offer an unbelievable deal on a trip or membership for a travel club that gets huge discounts and “free” travel. These scammers may require you to give up personal information or a large amount of money up front only to never be heard from again.
Travel Tip: As you plan your trip, make sure you go through trusted resources, whether that be online or in-person. Don’t be afraid to ask your family or friends to come along with you or help you out.
Unpack Critical Documents Before Travel
Don’t forget to unpack any really important documents or identifications before you leave for your trip. Some wallets or purses might include Social Security cards, bank statements, medical documents, and chequebooks.
For the sake of your trip, ask yourself if you actually need to bring any of these. In the case that your wallet or purse is stolen or lost, you know that these documents are out of someone else’s hands. Also never leave any of these documents out lying in your hotel room while you’re out.
Traveler Tip: Before you leave for your trip, check all your bags, wallets, and purses that you’re bringing with you. Make sure any important documents like social security cards are left at home unless you absolutely need it on your trip.
Watch Out For Shared and Insecure Internet Connections
While you travel, especially abroad, it’s extremely difficult to find connections for your phone, tablet, or laptops that aren’t public. Always remember that these connections are often unsecured and it may be possible for someone to access your information.
Traveler Tip: Never log into bank accounts, work emails, or other sensitive accounts while on a public or shared internet connection. If there’s no other alternative, choose what you type over these connections carefully or use a VPN. When purchasing anything on open networks, ensure that the connection is HTTPS secured rather than HTTP.
Protect Your Cash and Cards
Unfortunately, seniors are often targeted by thieves trying to pickpocket or steal due to a majority of the demographic being weaker physically. Although this always isn’t the case, it’s the reality of certain situations.
Always make sure that your wallet and purse is accounted for along with any cash, debit and credit cards that you’re carrying.
Traveler Tip: Carrying a credit card may actually be the smartest thing while traveling, especially abroad. Not only do many cards come with no foreign transaction fees, but they often have fraud protections in place in case your card or identity is stolen.
Check Your Accounts Upon Return
As you return home from your trip, it’s important to check all of your bank and credit card activity during your trip. Make sure there are no charges that you don’t recognize. These are often the places where you’ll see any indications of a stolen identity.
Remember, thieves are usually trying to outsmart you. They’ll purposely use your information in situations where any paper or digital tails appear slowly. So it’s a good idea to check again after a couple of weeks to make sure nothing has appeared in that time frame.
Traveler Tip: If any of your accounts show any suspicious activity that you’re questioning, contact your card issuer or bank immediately! This is the one scenario where it pays off to be a tattler, as your issuer or bank will help you report any fraudulent charges right away.
Hope with these tips in mind, you can plan ahead and stay vigilant on protecting yourself when you travel!
Did you know Nurse Next Door’s caregivers can support in transportation and accompaniment? Learn how we can support you in staying independent by calling us toll-free at +1(877) 588-8609!