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8 travel tips to help protect against theft or fraud

David Pollino

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!

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