Identity theft is a huge problem in Georgia, but Georgia residents are also at risk when traveling. If you’re taking a trip outside of the country, it’s likely that you’ll have sensitive documents with you. Even Georgia consumers traveling domestically are more exposed to identity thieves. You’ll likely swipe your debit and credit cards in strange places and use strange ATMs while on vacation. Also, fraudsters who commit identity theft through pick-pocketing often target tourists. However, you don’t need to ditch your plans and stay at home. Georgia consumers can prevent becoming victims of identity theft when traveling by taking a few important precautions.
Important Identity Theft Prevention Tips for Georgia Travelers
Don’t let ruin your vacation. Whether you’re traveling within the beautiful state of Georgia, visiting a different state, or going abroad, follow these simple rules to protect your data.
Take only the most necessary documents and payment cards.
Obviously, Georgia Consumers heading out of the U.S. need their passports and other identifying information. Also, any traveler needs at least one debit and/or credit card. However, if you clean out your purse or wallet before leaving, you may be surprised by what you find. Old prescriptions, business cards, and extraneous credit cards could cause trouble if lost or stolen. So, make sure to either shred or leave these unnecessary items behind.
Scan copies of necessary documents and payment cards.
Having copies of the documents and payment cards going with you will help if a fraudster steals your purse or wallet. With these copies, you’ll have an easier time identifying missing debit or credit cards, and quick access to creditor phone numbers when you call to request a credit freeze.
Stick to ATMs attached to banks.
Credit card skimmers are a problem in Georgia and throughout the country. Fraudsters place these small devices in card readers in order to steal card information. So, avoid standalone ATMs that are easily accessible to identity thieves. Instead, use ATMs located inside of banks. These machines are monitored, and, therefore, safer. Drive-through ATMS that are attached to banks are reasonably safe options as well.
If possible, avoid using public computers.
Most travelers rely on their phones for internet access while traveling. Yet, if you’re waiting for your device to charge or you can’t get a signal, you might be tempted by a public computer. Try to resist, though, especially if you want to go on social media or check a bank or credit card statement. Accessing this kind of information via public computers just isn’t safe. You never know when a hacker might come along after you to steal your data.
Use free Wi-Fi sparingly, if at all.
Because they primarily use smartphones and tablets for internet access, free Wi-Fi is a much bigger temptation for Georgia travelers. Connecting to the abundant free Wi-Fi offered at hotels, restaurants, libraries, and airports saves you money on data. However, these networks are not secure. Again, if you check bank or credit card statements, your email, or if you make an online purchase, you should do so through a secure connection.
Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements.
While connected to the internet via a secured network, you should check your bank and credit card statements at least once a day. This allows you to verify that the only charges there are the ones you made. If, on the other hand, you see charges or withdrawals that you don’t recognize, call your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
Also, make sure to call your credit card provider and banking institution before leaving for your trip. Otherwise, if they don’t know you are traveling, they may flag some of your purchases and/or withdrawals as suspicious and put a freeze on your account(s).
Check your credit reports when you get home.
Wait a couple of weeks after you get back, then request your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus. According the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), you can do this for free every twelve months. The easiest way to get credit reports from TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax all at once is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com. This site is authorized by federal law, so credit reports obtained here may be used if you need to dispute inaccurate or fraudulent items.
If you do find errors or signs of identity theft on your credit reports, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Georgia right away. Once you do, our firm will provide you with an experienced credit lawyer who will clean up your credit reports for free.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let errors or bogus accounts on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (404) 591-6680 or sending him a message through our contact page.