DES MOINES, Iowa, March 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Spring break is right around the corner. Before you throw all caution to the wind, however, remember that some of the most common ways identity thieves steal personal information are more likely to happen when you are traveling. Check out these five travel-related identity theft tactics and what you can do to keep your personal information safe.
- Mail theft. "One way thieves get personal information is to steal it right out of your mail box," says Ann Cosimano, General Counsel of ARAG®, a global provider of legal solutions. "Credit card invoices, bank statements and investment reports all contain account numbers that can be easily taken from a mailbox." Be sure to stop your mail, have someone else pick it up for you or start receiving all bills electronically.
- Dumpster diving. "Dumpster diving is when someone steals personal information from a dumpster or trash bin," says Cosimano. "When we travel it's easy to pitch credit card receipts into a waste basket, but it's essential to shred personal information when you throw it away. Make sure you tear up receipts or save them until you get home and can shred them."
- Shoulder surfing. Take extra caution when you are checking in at a busy hotel, paying with a credit card at a popular restaurant, or using the ATM when others are around you. "Especially while on vacation, stay aware of your surroundings and protect your information from anyone who may be watching you," says Cosimano.
- Card skimming. Any time you use an ATM or other payment processing machine, be aware that criminals may have attached a "skimmer" – a curved plastic sheath over the card slot that reads the information on your debit or credit card when you swipe them. Often used in combination with a concealed camera, thieves can also record your Personal Identification Number (PIN). "Protect yourself by checking nearby objects for possible concealed cameras such as a box holding brochures or a nearby light fixture. Also check the card slot for a skimmer device, and don't use the machine if you suspect tampering.
- Personal item theft. When traveling, take extra care to guard personal items such as a wallet or purse. Limit the number of credit cards you take with you and be aware of where you are at all times.
Once you return from vacation, carefully monitor your bank statements and credit card statements. If you believe your cards have been used, or your information has been stolen, contact the financial institution right away. You also may want to check with your employer about enrolling in legal insurance coverage where you work. Comprehensive legal plans, such as those offered by ARAG, provide plan members with a wide range of services that include trained specialists, educational resources and other tools to help prevent or resolve identity theft, providing security and peace of mind.
ARAG ® (www.ARAGgroup.com) provides affordable legal solutions through trusted service to help people protect what matters most.
ARAG is a world leader in legal protection services. The company has an international premium base of nearly $2 billion and protects 15.5 million individuals and their families.
ARAG's North American headquarters are based in Des Moines, Iowa. We are committed to providing our customers a choice of legal solutions to help them live a life full of opportunities. We demonstrate expertise, integrity and passion in everything we do to serve our customers and make a positive difference in our community. We are proud to sponsor ARAG Free Will Day, providing low and middle income citizens with free access to attorneys for the creation of important legal documents to protect their family, finances and future.
We've earned both a Top 100 Call Center title (2010-11) and the prestigious Center of Excellence Award for an unprecedented six years running (2007-2012). Additionally, ARAG is recognized as a Best Places to Work in Insurance (2009-2012) by Business Insurance Magazine. This esteemed honor is based on workplace culture and employee feedback.
For more news and information about ARAG, visit ARAGgroup.com.