Travel Security and Identity Theft Scams

Traveling for business or pleasure is hectic, unnerving, not at all glamorous and often draining. Often, we say we need a vacation after a vacation. And when traveling, the last thing you need is to be ripped off. Things to consider:

Hotel Rooms

Hotel rooms are not secure. Just last week I entered a hotel room with somebody else’s stuff laid out on the dresser and on the bed. It’s happened to me dozens of times. Sometimes the clerk assigns the same room to two people, or the keys work in multiple rooms. Never ever leave anything of value in your room.

Rental Cars

My wife traveled to Spain, got off the plane, and rented a car, and drove off the lot. At the first stop sign, a man knocked on her passenger window and pointed, saying, “Tire, tire.” She put the car in park and walked over to the passenger side. The tire was fine and the man was gone. When she got back in the car her purse had disappeared from the front seat. Her driver’s license, passport, cash, and credit cards were all gone.

Identifying Documents

When traveling, consider carrying your essential documents in a money belt, or one that hangs from a lanyard around your neck, hidden under your shirt. You should always carry photocopies of your identification, but they won’t do you any good if they’re stored in the same purse that was just snatched from your rental car. One smart option is to scan all your pertinent documents in full color and upload them to a secure web-based encrypted digital vault.

Lost Wallet Protection

Never include your Social Security card in any of these documents. There simply isn’t a reason to have you SSN with you while traveling. Consider an identity theft protection service that includes Lost Wallet Protection: just one phone call helps you notify your bank, cancel your credit and debit card cards, and order replacement cards.

To ensure peace of mind before you travel—and year-round—subscribe to an identity theft protection service, such as McAfee Identity Protection, which offers proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. For additional tips, please visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss identity theft on YouTube. (Disclosures)

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