We don’t normally travel during the holidays, but we will be this year. There are some things to know about holiday travel safety and so I thought while I’m planning what we’ll be doing on our trip, I’d share a few of these tips with you.
Protecting Your Home and Pets
The first is never tell the Internet when you’ll be gone and where you’ll be going. I know it’s cool to post you’re leaving to your Facebook and Twitter friends, but do you really know all of them? The fewer people who know you’ll be gone, the better. If you have teens, ask that they not share the information as well.
Next, schedule someone to stay at your home or to check in on it regularly. Be sure they know your home alarm information and how to handle a false alarm. Also leave a note of where the water and gas shut-off valves are and who they can contact if you’re not reachable to make major decisions for you.
If they’ll be caring for your pets, be sure they know about their special needs, allergies, and where to take them in case of illness or injury. And even more important, how much money they’re authorized to spend on the pet on your behalf. Why? Well, things can happen you never imagine. For instance, my sister was caring for a kitten that swallowed a threaded needle. The surgery was in the thousands and the kitty didn’t survive the incident. Unfortunately, the owners couldn’t be reached and my sister wanted to error on the side of saving the kitten, so they came home to a hefty vet bill and then had to deal with the loss of their beloved pet as well.
Protecting Your Identity
So now that you’re ready to travel you’re not out of the woods when it comes to safety. You still need to safeguard your money and your identity – many times they’re one in the same. Lose your debit/credit card and you’ve just lost some important information that can be used fraudulently.
ATM Safety – use your body to block your passcode and private info and be aware of those around you.
While you’re travelling, be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to people milling about the entrances to hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. Thieves look for people who aren’t paying attention to their belongings like their luggage, purse, shopping bags, etc. Also take note of ATMs and registers. Look for tampering before you swipe your debit or credit card. Thieves are putting skimming devices at these point-of-sale locations which are inserted right into the slot so when you swipe your card, you’re actually giving the thieves all of your information.
Keep your receipt for all of your transactions so you have something to fall back on to check should your bank contact you to verify charges. Before you set out on your journey, take a moment to log into your online banking account (or call your bank) and verify and update your contact information. They can’t notify you of possible fraud if they don’t have your email address and current phone number.
But for the ultimate protection, get a LifeLock membership. My husband and I both have one. Just last week we saw their service in action. We each received an email alert from them when our personal information was used to open a new cellphone account with Verizon. That’s a potential theft of our identity so they sent out an alert immediately.
So fast in fact, that we received the emails within one hour of us signing the new cellphone agreement – that’s fast! It was indeed us and all we had to do to let LifeLockknow that it was us and all was well, was to click on a link within the alert. The timeliness and responsiveness of the notification made me realize just how wonderful and reliable their service is.
LifeLock partnered with Danny Way, a professional skateboarder, who’s featured in a new documentary called Waiting for Lightning. Way worked with LifeLock, and realized that “identity is everything.” Check out Waiting for Lightningand see how Waychallenges himself with the biggest (and most dangerous) goals.