8 travel tips to help protect against theft or fraud

David Pollino
Posted by David Pollino
Fraud Prevention

Summer is vacation time. Most people spend a good deal of time planning their summer trips, and I recommend adding some security-protection steps to those plans — especially if you intend to work while you’re traveling.

Young couple with 2 little girls posing for a selfie at the back of their car as they all wear fedora hats.Here is my list of 8 things to do the help protect yourself from theft or fraud before you leave home.

1. Encrypt your devices. If you haven’t already done so, make sure you require a passcode or password to unlock your device. In the Settings menu, you can also check to make sure that data protection is enabled and tied to your passcode. You may also want to encrypt certain files or folders. If you want specific directions for your device, a simple Web search may help you find the relevant steps to take.

2. Turn on backups. Devices can be lost, stolen, or damaged while you are traveling. Make sure you have a daily backup. You do not want to lose those vacation pics from your phone.

3. Split your debit/credit cards and identification documents. Just in case you are pickpocketed or your hotel room is robbed, do not carry all your cards with you. Leave some back hidden in the hotel room, or better yet, in the hotel safe (if available). Keep a photocopy of your passport in the safe as well.

4. Make a backup list of important phone and document numbers. This may help you cancel credit cards and obtain required identification documents, if they are lost or stolen.

5. Tell your bank. You can often set travel notifications online. This will help you avoid the embarrassment of cards being declined.

6. Be careful of what you share about your plans — on social media, out of office, voicemail messages, etc. Especially if you have a public profile, sharing vacation pictures tells everyone that you are not at home. Wait until you return to post all those awesome selfies. Similarly, don’t share too much information on your voicemail or out-of-office email messages.

7. Stop mail and/or have someone pick it up. Having packages, newspapers, and mail piling up is a sign that your home may be vacant.

8. Make it look like you are still at home. You can use a timer to have lights turn on and off periodically. Also, you may consider using a fake TV (device that produces light that looks like a TV, but uses very little power). These simple tricks are good for creating the appearance of activity in your home.

These steps usually help ease my mind for travel, and I hope they help you. Best wishes for happy and safe summer vacations!

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

  • Anonymous says:

    I feel bank employees can link outside individuals with account information to set up online accounts with customers who do not have online banking.
    I found this possible with ATT. An individual was accessing his account online, but we were receiving his paper statements. This went on for over a 11/2 yrs before it stopped. This scenario can be reversed, we receive the paper statements and somebody is using our accounts on line.
    Also bank of West or BNP Paribas does not allow a password on an account. You can only imagine how easy it is to obtain a person mailing address, DOB, SS, and account number from a check to access another person account. Ever time I walk into this bank somebody has lost money via an internal transfer or a direct deposit. It takes years to find out who has been stealing money. A secure bank has passwords that only the customer has access to or the bank. Anybody in the world (especially due to outsourcing) can get anybody’s personal info.

    Reply | 1 week ago
    • Editor says:

      Hello – We take your feedback seriously, and we’d like to look into the details of your situation. This isn’t a safe place to discuss account details, so we invite you to email your contact information and a convenient time to reach you to social@bankofthewest.com. For security reasons, please do not include any account numbers in your message. Thank you.

      Reply | 7 days ago
    • Editor says:

      Hello – Please be advised that your statement of concern regarding the Bank’s practices has been escalated to the Bank’s Compliance Department for further research. Please know that you will receive a formal written response letter explaining our findings as soon as the investigation is concluded, which may take up to 25 business days. We invite you to email your contact information to (social@bankofthewest.com), so our team can follow up with you. We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention and your patience while we do a thorough review of this matter.

      Reply | 1 hour ago

Submit an Idea

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

You are leaving the Bank of the West Blog. Please be aware: The website you are about to enter is not operated by Bank of the West. Bank of the West does not endorse the content of this website and makes no warranty as to the accuracy of content or functionality of this website. The privacy and security policies of the site may differ from those practiced by Bank of the West. To proceed to this website, click OK, or hit Cancel to remain on the Bank of the West Blog.