Avoiding Scams While on Vacation


As the summer vacation season moves into high gear, keep Benjamin Franklin's words of wisdom in mind: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The following tips will help keep you, your family and your identity safe while enjoying your vacation.

  • Notify your bank. Traveling out of state or overseas while using your bankcard could cause a fraud alert to appear and suspend your account. A quick phone call can prevent this hassle.

  • Be cautious when searching for rental properties on websites like Craigslist. A legitimate rental will not ask for payment via wire transfer.

  • Avoid stand-alone ATMS’s. Scammers like these because they are able to attach a credit card skimmer with less risk of detection.

  • Stay on guard even in your hotel. If you receive a phone call from the “front desk” asking you to confirm your payment method, hang up. It's a scam. If the hotel really has an issue, they will ask you to come to the front desk.

  • Stay alert. Identity thieves’ techniques evolve. Especially in the technological age but some will always rely on good old-fashioned pick-pocketing. Safeguard your wallet, purse and phones.

  • Save the social media posts. Wait until you are home to share the photos of your family vacation. You don’t want to announce when your home will be empty.

  • Make sure you place a hold on newspaper and mail deliveries. A full mailbox or several newspapers in your driveway are sure signs no one is home.

  • Only take what you will need. Leave the extra credit/bank cards at home. Do you really need your social security card with you? Birth certificate? If not, leave it at home.

  • Take photocopies or a picture of all the information in your wallet. That includes front and back photos of your credit/bank cards, I.D., passport, etc. Keep the copies in a safe place, not your wallet or purse.

  • Be wary of free Wi-Fi. Free means open airwaves and everything you do is transmitted over an unsecured connection and makes you vulnerable. Some Wi-Fi connections are fake and are set up by hackers just to steal your information. Always double check with the location to see if it is official.

  • Don’t leave expensive or important belongings in the hotel room. Use the safe if one is provided in the room. If not, ask the front desk for another alternative.

  • Handle RFID with care. Many credit/bank cards are now equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips, which makes stealing your information easier for high-tech scammers. Consider using a RFID blocking wallet, purse or case.

  • If the worst happens, act fast. Contact the bank or credit card company as well as the credit reporting bureaus. If your ID is stolen, file a police report immediately. This is necessary for creating a paper trail as well as a time frame for the theft. If traveling overseas and your passport is lost or stolen, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, they can help you with a replacement. You should also call the local police and file a report.

Don't forget to share these tips with elderly loved ones who may be joining you on your trip or taking a trip of their own.

Questions? Kimbrough Law may be able to help. Just give us a call at 706.850.6910.

Sources: Lifelock and the Better Business Bureau

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