1. Clear your wallet of anything you won't need on your trip like old receipts, expired cards, and anything with your information attached. There is no need to bring your Birth Certificate or SIN card on vacation, so leave them at home in a safe place or with someone you trust, along with a copy of your passport in case it gets lost or damaged.
2. Password-Protect your Phone to keep thieves out! I know it can be annoying to have to enter a password every time you need your phone, but it's well worth the tiny inconvenience to protect your information. Tips to prevent your cell phone from being hacked.
3.Keep your Travel Documents in a safe place. Keep them with you in a secure inside pocket of a zipped bag, money belt or document protector, RFID-blocking wallet, or store your documents electronically in your password-protected phone or leave them in your room safe, not out in the open for anyone to see. Make sure you shred any old boarding passes or other documents/tickets with your information on it before throwing it out.
4. Try to avoid using ATMs, unless they are in a bank. Thieves can install card readers in ATMs to access your card and PIN numbers, most commonly at less-secured ATMs like the ones in hotels or convenience stores. Always shield the keypad when entering your PIN, keep your cards close in a RFID-blocking wallet, and change your PIN when you return home just in case.
5. Check your credit card and bank statements regularly and be on alert for any unrecognizable purchases so you can report them to your bank immediately. Keep in mind that recovering stolen funds from a credit card is much easier than when it's taken from your bank account, so try to use cash or credit instead of debit whenever possible.
6. Be extremely cautious when using public Wi-Fi. When you see the warning "this connection is unsecured and others may see your information", make sure you select "public network" and don't access your bank accounts, work email or other sensitive password-protected accounts on public networks. Always use HTTPS (S for Secure) instead of HTTP in website addresses or get a plug-in for your browser like HTTPS Everywhere, or use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) Service.
If you're using a public computer make sure to log out of your accounts and delete all cookies and browsing history before logging off. Some sites like Facebook or LinkedIn will keep you logged in on that computer, possibly giving thieves access to all kinds of personal information.
7. Protect your mail back home. If you don't have a secure mailbox and still get door-to-door mail service, put a hold on your mail so it's kept safe at the Post Office and not sitting in your mailbox at home where thieves can easily take it and use your information.
8. Be sure to let your bank know when you're travelling. This will help avoid having your bank freeze your card due to unusual purchases in countries other than your home, although most banks don't required notification with the new fraud-detectors used but it can at least give you peace of mind knowing that you will be able to use your card on your trip. This can also help speed up the recording process if your card is stolen.
If you get a suspicious call claiming to be from your bank don't give out any information, hang up and call your bank using the number on your card, not the number they called you from!
9. When you return home, make sure you have all of the information you took on your trip with you and check your bank and credit card statements, especially if you weren't able to check them regularly during your trip. The sooner you report identity theft, the better chance you have of recovering the information or funds stolen.
10. If you do fall victim to Identify Theft, report the theft to the local police immediately and contact the nearest Canadian Embassy or your Travel Insurance Provider for help retrieving required travel documents. Always leave copies of your ID with a trusted friend or family member, or ask your Travel Agent to keep copies on hand for you in case you need them. Your Travel Agent will keep your information secure and will be an invaluable resource to help in an emergency.
Identity Theft can be a scary thing to have to deal with while travelling, but remember that it can happen anywhere. So, don't let it scare you away from travelling, just be cautious at all times and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your identity.