Protecting your identity while abroad

Suncream isn’t the only protection you need on holiday!

As millions of visitors to Europe begin to plan their travels, many will make arrangements for friends and family to keep an eye on their home, water plants and look after pets but few will take similar measures to protect their online identities while abroad.

Peter Turner, Managing Director at Experian Consumer Services UK&I, offers a few words of advice.

“Many of us leave a trail of clues about our absence. Forgetting to cancel the milkman, newspapers, leaving a visible build-up of post on our doormat and even posting our holiday plans on social media sites are all simple yet tell-tale signs to potential burglars and fraudsters that our belongings and valuable personal information is there for the taking.

In the rush to escape work and head for the sunshine many will forget to do a few simple security checks before leaving their homes. By following these tips we are taking vital precautions to protect ourselves from the ever growing threat of ID Fraud. Many people will first become aware that they have been a victim of ID fraud when they learn that someone has attempted to apply for credit frequently in their name and so it is important to keep an eye on your credit report to ensure all of the information is accurate and up to date.”

BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME:
• Cancel any deliveries that will sit on your doorstep and alert passers-by of your absence
• Arrange for a neighbour or friend to regularly pop in and remove post from the doormat
• Carry out latest security updates on your devices (useful if you’re also taking some of them abroad)
• Back up critical and personal information, over a cloud service or on disk
• Clear the cache on any devices
• Switch off your internet router and Wifi – if you’re not at home and no one else is using it, why leave it open to be hacked
• Advise your bank, credit card and other service providers that you will be away. This will help with financial services keeping track of your money abroad but also protect you against any fraudulent activity at home

WHILE YOU’RE AWAY:
• Switch off the personal hotspot setting on your mobile devices
• Only log on to secure Wifi
• Where possible do not access crucial services
such as online banking via your mobile device
• Do not carry passwords written on a paper or saved on your devises
• Don’t flash your mobile devices around for all to see. Relax but be sensible.
• Lock up your valuables including important documents such as your passport in a hotel safe if available.
Be careful what you post on social networking sites before you go and whilst you are away. A simple message about what a great time you are having can also be an alert that your house is sitting empty for a while; remember that posts on Twitter are completely public and on Facebook it depends on whether you are sharing posts to ‘Friends only’, ‘Friends of Friends’ or ‘Everyone’

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