It is the night before the vacation you have been anxiously awaiting all year. You have checked your list twice and have everything packed. The dog is at the kennel and your work out-of-office automated email is activated.
But then you get a lingering feeling that you are missing something. You know what feeling we are talking about. That feeling you just can’t shake that you have forgotten something major.
We’re not talking about simply forgetting your toothbrush or extra socks. We are talking about forgetting to prepare you home while away. The truth is, some individuals prey on homes for personal information and valuables while their residents are out of town. Which is why it is so important to not only plan for your destination, but to also plan for your home while away. Check out six tips to safeguard yourself while traveling:
- Mail – one way thieves obtain identifying material about you is through your mail. If you are away for a significant amount of time, there are several things you can do to keep your mail confidential. First, you can invest in a mailbox with a lock. This will ensure only you are opening your mail. Another option is to place a hold on your mail. This can be done online at USPS.com or with a Hold Form at your local post office.
- Documents – you might be surprised to know that thieves often will go through your trash in hopes of finding documents with personal information, like your bank account number or social security number. One way to avoid this is to invest in a crosscut shredder to shred documents with financial or personal information.
- Lights – a major indicator to thieves of vacant homes is lack of lights on in or around the house. To overcome this trigger, consider setting up your outdoor and/or indoor lights on timers to make your home look occupied.
- Neighbors – do you have a trusted neighbor you can count on? Make sure you let them know you will be traveling. It helps to have someone on site who can notify you of any suspicious activity.
- Review Accounts – keep an active eye on your credit card and bank accounts while traveling. This will ensure you are noticing unauthorized charges right away instead of after a vacation. While it might not be ideal to deal with suspicious card activity while out of town, it’s better to take care of it right away.
- Social Media – while it’s tempting to share your vacation happenings in the moment to your friends on social media, it also can be dangerous. Social media sites can give thieves instant clues about your home, location, and belongings. Try to hold off posting photos and location updates until after your vacation.
Preparing for travel is not only about packing; it should also be about protecting yourself from identity theft attacks. Use these helpful tips to avoid these schemes and have total peace of mind while relaxing on your vacation.