Summer travel is around the corner – here are some tips from Citywide Banks, a division of HTLF Bank to keep your accounts safe so you can enjoy the sun and focus on family fun.
Don’t bring anything you don’t need: Leave checkbooks and checks at home, in a locked safe. Use cash or credit cards for purchases. Also, go through your purse or wallet and remove any cards you won’t be using, as well as receipts.
Put deliveries on hold: Put your mail on “postal hold” stating you wish to have your mail held at the post office for a period of time. This also goes for regular deliveries, like meal services or coffee delivery.
Make it appear someone is home: Arrange for friends or family you trust to pick up newspapers and mail to avoid drawing attention to your home, or even arrange for lawn mowing if you’re going to be gone for an extended period. Timers for lights are also useful. Nothing says “we’re out of town” more than a pile of newspapers!
Make copies of your itinerary, passport data page, visas and driver’s license to leave with a designated emergency contact.
ATM activity: Consider restricting the use of your ATM card to securely located Automated Teller Machines. Fake ATMs are known to have been placed in high-traffic tourist areas. Be aware of skimmers - If the machine looks suspicious, let an employee know and seek an alternative place to withdraw funds. When typing in your PIN, cover the screen with your other hand to keep someone from looking over your shoulder or a camera from capturing your PIN.
Take caution with public Wi-Fi and charging stations: Avoid conducting online banking, making purchases, or accessing email accounts when using a public Wi-Fi connection as the information can easily be captured by criminals on the same connection.
The FBI has recently warned about public charging stations, advising travelers to use their own cables and converters to avoid “juice jacking”: “Bad actors have figured out ways to use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices. Carry your own charger and USB cord and use an electrical outlet instead,” the FBI officials advised.
Vacation rental scams: Be on the lookout for fake listings that include stolen or computer-generated images or appear as new posts with no reviews. Don’t trust any vacation property manager who asks for payment outside of the online travel platform and be especially wary of anyone who asks for payment by cryptocurrency or gift cards.
Following this advice will help you keep your accounts and identity secure while you’re traveling. For more information on safeguarding your accounts, current scams and schemes, and security advice, visit your bank’s Fraud Prevention page.