Going, Going...

Protect yourself from identity theft before you leave home

By John Bordsen

Don’t pack important documents, identity cards, credit cards or debit cards in your suitcase. Put those you need to take on yor trip in your wallet, purse or carry on. Cards and documents you don’t need on your trip? Leave them at home – ideally in a safe.
Don’t pack important documents, identity cards, credit cards or debit cards in your suitcase. Put those you need to take on yor trip in your wallet, purse or carry on. Cards and documents you don’t need on your trip? Leave them at home – ideally in a safe. 2005 TMS file photo

Taking off? Make sure you have with you the identification you need to take along. And make sure that what’s back at home is safe.

Experian, which sells software that addresses identity-theft concerns – monitoring credit card use, Internet scams and the like – recently put together a checklist for travelers.

Among them were these “before you go” tips:

* Don’t pack debit/credit cards, checkbook, birth certificate or passport. If you need them along, put them in your wallet, briefcase, purse or carry on. Not leaving the country? Leave the passport at home. Also leave at home any cards you do not intend to use.

* Gather the cards you’re leaving behind. Round up important documents – including PINs and passwords – that may also be scattered around the house. Lock all this stuff in a safe.

* Make copies of any important documents you’ll be taking along, including your itinerary and confirmations. Leave one set at home in a safe place your “in case of emergency” contact person can access.

* Contact the companies whose credit cards you may be using on your trip. Let them know where you’ll be: Away-from-home charges could otherwise be a red flag to the card’s fraud department – which could block use of those cards.

* Let your neighbor know you’ll be gone and when you’ll be back and how you can be contacted in the event of emergency. Leave a house key with a friend or trusted neighbor; ask that your mail and newspaper be taken inside – or put both mail and newspaper on hold until return.

Experian also has a list of ID security tips you should follow when you’re away from home.

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