Saturday, July 22, 2017

Smart Safety: Identity Theft Travel Tips

News of data breaches and the risks of identity theft and fraud persist, but consumers’ vigilance and awareness haven’t kept pace. A national survey by Experian, the world’s leading global information services company, revealed that not only is America’s collective guard down, but people feel they are at a disadvantage when it comes to identity theft. The survey results coincide with Experian’s national launch of IdentityWorksSM, a comprehensive set of identity theft protection products offering consumers a powerful and user-friendly array of features, including Experian CreditLock and extensive dark web monitoring.

IdentityWorks helps consumers recognize potential identity fraud and respond to it, arming them with credit monitoring and alerts, and credit reports and scores — which are often the first indicators of identity theft and fraud. This new product extends well beyond credit information to include dark web monitoring and alerts, and noncredit transaction monitoring (bank account, Social Security number, change of address, etc.) to detect when a consumer’s personal information is actively marketed on the web or abused in noncredit transactions. IdentityWorks also includes Experian CreditLock, giving consumers real-time access control to their Experian credit file. In addition to the expertise and assistance of fraud resolution specialists, the product also provides the peace of mind of up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.1

Key research findings
  • Only half (49 percent) of respondents feel they are likely to become a victim of identity theft; of those, 57 percent have house hold income of $100,00 or more and 45 percent have house hold income of less than $50,000.
  • A significant majority of respondents (72 percent) think thieves are only interested in “wealthy people’s identities.”
  • The number one perceived identity theft threat: data breaches (number two: phishing emails).
  • It’s not uncommon for people to search for themselves online to see if anyone else is using their identity (26 percent).
  • Bankcard monitoring and credit report monitoring were rated highest as “helpful” when it comes to identity theft (58 percent and 55 percent, respectively).
  • Identity theft is familiar to most, with 52 percent of respondents having been victims or knowing someone who has.
  • Identity theft victims acknowledged negative impacts to short- and long-term financial goals (37 percent and 27 percent, respectively).
  • Of those victimized by identity theft while traveling, 55 percent stated it took from weeks to more than a year to resolve issues related to identity fraud.

For information regarding identity protection and dealing with fraud, as well as more details on this survey, visit the Experian Credit Education blog. Consider enrolling in a dark web and credit monitoring product such as Experian IdentityWorks, which can help better track and manage your credit with mobile alerts, lock your Experian credit file with Experian CreditLock, and help mitigate the damage from fraud with access to fraud resolution specialists and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance.

Tips to help monitor for fraud and protect personal information
  • Check your credit report for accuracy. You can get a free report from each credit bureau annually at
  • Consider an identity protection product like Experian IdentityWorks to help monitor your financial accounts and credit report. Experian IdentityWorks provides dark web monitoring to identify if personal information is exposed in illegal markets, a variety of alerts to warn of potential identity fraud and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance insurance for peace of mind.
  • Password-protect your phone. Your phone provides access to sensitive information and accounts. Set a unique password to unlock the device, and enable remote finding and wiping software to track the phone or destroy the data if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Use a password manager to create strong passwords for online accounts, and change them regularly.
  • Don’t access financial information or shop online using public Wi-Fi or an unsecured network.
  • Be careful about what personal information you share online (e.g., social networks).

Identity Theft Travel Tips 
from Experian IdentityWorksSM

Stop mail delivery: In addition to taking steps like putting lights on timers so it looks like you’re home in the evenings, it’s a good idea to stop mail delivery so that an overflowing mail box doesn’t signal that you’re not home. This will also ensure that important documents aren’t stolen from your mailbox while you’re gone. 

Carry only what you need: While you’ll need a passport to travel abroad, it’s not necessary for domestic travel. Further, you should never carry your Social Security card or birth certificate when traveling and limit the number of credit and debit cards you carry – only bring the ones you need for your trip.

Don’t use public Wi-Fi:  Public Wi-Fi hotspots make it easy for thieves to hack into the information stored on your mobile devices. A safer alternative is getting a portable router to create your own Wi-Fi hotspot for your family’s phones, tablets and laptops when you travel. You’ll need a local SIM data card, which is available at most electronic stores and many airport kiosks.

Lock up sensitive documents: Utilize hotel safes to store important documents and credit cards when you aren’t using them.

Password protect your phone: Your phone provides access to sensitive information and accounts. Set a unique password or PIN to unlock the device. You’ll also want to enable remote finding and wiping software to track the phone if it’s lost or stolen so you can wipe all of the data from it.

Keep a record: In the event of a lost or stolen wallet, it’s important to know exactly what’s missing. In a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit, debit, driver´s license, medical insurance and other important cards. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.

Keep a close eye on accounts: review financial accounts during your trip and when you get home, including bank and credit card statements. You should also keep an eye on your credit report upon your return. Signs of fraud and identity theft often first show up on your credit report and financial statements.

Consider an identity protection product: like Experian IdentityWorksSM to help monitor your financial accounts and credit report. Experian IdentityWorks provides dark web monitoring to identify if personal information is exposed in illegal markets, a variety of alerts to warn of potential identity fraud and up to $1 million in identity theft insurance for peace of mind. 

About the survey
The online survey was conducted by Edelman Berland on Experian’s behalf from March 17–23, 2017, among 1,000 adults 18 years of age or older who reside in the United States. This online survey is not based on a probability sample; therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey, methodology, including weighting variables, please contact

About Experian
Experian® is the world’s leading global information services company.  During life’s big moments — from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers — we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organizations to prevent identity fraud and crime.

We have 17,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximize every opportunity.  We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company. 

Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

1 Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). 175 Water Street, New York, New York 10038. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
2 Javelin Strategy & Research (2017). “Identity Fraud Hits Record High with 15.4 Million U.S. Victims in 2016.”Javelin Strategy.

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