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8 Planning Tips to Help Protect Yourself from ID Theft While Traveling

Travel can make you particularly vulnerable to identity theft and frauds. It is crucial to prepare ahead of time and do what you can to protect your personal information and belongings.

When we think about travel planning, the first things that come to mind are our hotel reservations, buying a travel guide book, and making transportation arrangements. However, travel can make you particularly vulnerable to identity theft and frauds. It is crucial to prepare ahead of time and do what you can to protect your personal information and belongings.
  1. Create a Detailed Itinerary
Once you are all set with your transportation and hotel reservations, it is good to give a detailed itinerary to someone you trust. This document should list the places you are planning to visit, the hotels you have booked and their respective contact details. It should also list your transportation details including train and/or flight number, date and time.

Preparing such document will be extremely useful if something happens to you or to someone back home and your family or friends need to track you down.
  1. Keep This Itinerary Private
While you should give a copy of your itinerary to a family member or friend, you should never share details such as the dates or destination of your trip publicly on social media. Doing so would alert potential untrustworthy persons regarding your ins and outs and the length of your trip. 
  1. Make Copies of Your ID and Passport
A good rule of thumb when traveling internationally is to make copies of your passport and identification documents. Leave a copy to a family member – maybe the person you shared your itinerary with, at home and on a secured online document repository that you can access anywhere (e.g. Drop Box, Google Drive or OneDrive). You should also take a copy with you. If you ever lose your passport or if it is stolen, having a copy will be immensely helpful to expedite the process at the local embassy or consulate.
  1. Register Your Payment Cards & Identification Documents
XYZ INSURANCE policyholders have access to ID Theft Protection from Assist America (link to respective page). Call Assist America's ID Protection number 1-877-409-9597 (inside the U.S.) or 1-614-823-5227 (outside the U.S.) to safely register your credit cards and documents. Doing so will help expedite the process of cancelling, blocking and retrieving any stolen and compromised data. The program also includes Card Patrol, an encrypted and secured online platform where you can register up to 10 credit cards. Card Patrol continuously monitors underground web and chat sites that specialize in selling and trading identity information. If your data appears, you will be immediately notified and take steps that will help prevent fraudulent use of your information in the future.
  1. Notify Your Banks
Prior to traveling abroad, you should always call your bank and notify them of your travel destination and dates. This will ensure that your cards don’t get blocked as soon as you try to pay in a foreign country. You should also inquire about currency and exchange rates. You may want to order some cash ahead of your trip to avoid the high fees and exchange rates when you get to the airport.
  1. Get Your Wallet in Shape for Travel
While packing, consider having a look at what is in your wallet. You probably don’t need all of your cards, usually a debit and a credit card are enough. Take a couple of days’ worth of cash. Place your passport, ID, medical insurance card, your Assist America membership card, and a list of your current medications, any allergies you may have and emergency contacts. Review this article for more details about what you should take in your wallet and what should be left at home.
  1. Set-Up Your Phone for International Travel
A lot of calling and data plans don’t come with an international option. You will probably have to activate it by visiting or calling your service provider. You should not leave this step to the last minute as international plans often cost a lot of money. You should research your options and estimate how much communication and data you will need once you arrive at your destination. For alternatives and tips regarding usage of digital devices, read our article on how to prepare and manage your digital footprint while traveling.
  1. Download the Assist America Mobile App
Finally, remember to download the Assist America Mobile App before you leave. The application is packed with useful travel features including a tap for help button immediately connecting you to the 24/7 Operations Center, digital membership ID card, an embassy locator and much more.