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Gap Year Travellers Need Protection from Identity Theft

Monday 4th July 2011

Take care of your personal details online while you travel

A recently commissioned survey showed that many people are still vulnerable to identity theft especially when they are travelling. Thieves can take unsuspecting travellers’ information in a variety of ways, and now that WiFi is readily available around the globe many gap year travellers use it to update their families back at home with their progress on a regular basis but aren’t aware that they are putting their personal details at risk at the same time.

Survey results indicated that, whether booking flights at home, logging on at a Wi-Fi hotspot in the airport or surfing the Web in a hotel room, people can put their information at risk if their connection is not secure.

Top travel tips to protect your identities.

Wi-Fi hotspots are a hotbed for identity thieves. Nearly 60% surveyed use public Wi-Fi in some capacity while travelling. Choose a very strong password by making it longer and including an array of symbols, letters and numbers. Be careful that you don’t broadcast your travel plans on social networks. Almost 50 percent of survey respondents between the ages of 18 to 34 post to their social media pages with updates on their travel whereabouts. While managing privacy settings is a great way to control who views your page, you can never be sure that your information is safe. About one-fifth of all survey respondents post their travel plans to social networking sites, and the number increases in the 18-to-34 demographic.

Cash or credit cards are the best forms of payment while travelling. Go through your wallet and bags and remove any personal items you don’t need for your holiday, such as National Insurance cards, library card and cheque book.  76 percent of consumers do not place personal items in a safe or safety deposit box when they depart for their trip. Many identity thieves know peak travel times and simply break into empty homes in search of information.

Book your holiday and travel on secure sites. When you click on the page to pay, ensure that it’s a secure site. The URL should begin with "https."