Financial Tip of the Week from the Iowa Bankers Association:
After another long Iowa winter, the arrival of warmer weather probably has many of us dreaming of relaxing on the beach or enjoying some other type of sunny summer vacation. But nothing can make a warm vacation go cold quite like getting your identity stolen. As you make your summer travel plans, take into consideration these tips on protecting your identity while traveling.
Before you leave
1. Go through your wallet, purse and/or briefcase, remove any of the following items and place them in a locked safe or safety deposit box at your local bank:
· Social Security card
· Checkbook and deposit slips
· Birth certificate
· Credit card receipts
· Library card
· Video rental card
· Extra credit cards
2. Minimize the number of credit and debit cards in your wallet or purse.
3. Write down all the phone numbers from the back of your credit and debit cards and keep them somewhere other than your wallet or purse.
4. Provide your bank with up-to-date contact information, including your cell phone number.
5. If you are leaving the country, advise your bank of your plans so they won't be alarmed when they see transactions taking place in another country and will be able to better assist you if you need help from overseas.
6. Pay bills before you go out of town.
7. Place mail on "postal hold" with the Post Office. Arrange so mail may only be picked up by you, and request that identification must be show to receive held mail.
8. Stop delivery of newspapers or any other items you normally have delivered.
9. Make copies of your itinerary, passport data page, visas and driver's license to leave with a designated emergency contact.
10. Notify a trusted neighbor to watch your house.
During your travel
1. Lock up all your valuables (jewelry, laptops, passports and any other important documents) in a room safe or hotel safe while you are out of the room.
2. Heighten your awareness of people and crowds around you—pickpockets thrive in most major cities.
3. Avoid ATMs that appear to have been tampered with.
4. Cover the PIN pad when using ATMs. This will make it difficult for criminals to capture your PIN visually or with a camera.
5. Be aware of your surroundings at all times—"shoulder surfing" is a viable method of obtaining personal information when you least suspect it.
These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. The IBA serves it members by providing legislative advocacy, training, regulatory compliance and other services designed to enhance the ability of banks to serve their communities. Learn more at www.iowabankers.com.
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