With many Britons working their way through their summer holiday check lists, Experian has some helpful tips for something many may not yet have considered – making sure your ID stays safe on holiday.
In the same way you take a few simple steps to protect yourself from the sun, you can help protect you and your family from identity theft – and avoid having your information getting into the wrong hands when you should be enjoying your holiday.
It’s best not to carry things with you that you don’t need, as handbags and wallets often hold lots of items containing personally-identifiable information that you won’t need on holidays. Fraudsters just love these, so it’s worth doing a clear-out of your handbag and wallet, getting rid of items like bills, receipts and medical prescriptions.
Careful in public
When you go online, it’s best to avoid unsecured Wi-Fi networks and public computers if you are doing anything which requires you to share personal passwords or financial information. Try to check these sites are encrypted (indicated by a padlock symbol and the letters “https:”) and make sure you log out after use.
Regularly updating your antivirus and firewalls for devices is the most simple form of protection, as just like with sunscreen, effectively reapplying it – eg: with patches for specific bugs – works best.
Lastly, it’s best not to flash your mobile devices around for all to see. Make sure no-one’s looking over your shoulder when you make a card or mobile payment, and be careful what information you have stored on your phone – including emails that can be accessed without a password.
What if you think your ID may have been compromised?
If your wallet has been stolen, cancel any cards or accounts and let the police and your bank/lenders know. One of the ways you can spot potential fraudulent activity is by checking your credit report. If you see any unusual activity on your credit report, and think it could be an indication of identity theft, you can contact the Experian Victims of Fraud team who will appoint a dedicated case-worker to investigate and, if necessary, resolve any fraudulent activity not only to protect your bank balance, but also your credit score.
Your credit report can highlight irregularities such as suspect applications for credit and rises in card balances, and checking it regularly can help make sure it is accurate and up to date. You can see your Experian Credit Report and Score whenever you want with CreditExpert membership.