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Family Living Focus: Travel Tips for Reducing Chances of Identity

Instead of moving, perhaps modifications to your home would make it more furnishings. Replace old equipment t With the summer season now in full swing, many senior citizens, like other Americans, are planning to spend some of their free time traveling. If you are one of the millions of Americans planning to travel this summer, it is important to take steps to ensure financial privacy and minimize your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission reported that millions of Americans have been victims of identity theft during the summer travel season.

Here are seven safety tips to consider before heading off to your summer vacation spot:

• Pack only the items needed. Be sure to pack only the identification and credit cards you will need for your trip. Leave your checkbook and cards showing your Social Security number at home.

• Use prepaid or stored-value travel cards. Using prepaid cards allows you to plan your travel expenses and put the amount you plan to use on the card. If stolen, thieves cannot access your account and the issuers will be able to replace the money. Keep issuers’ phone number in a safe yet accessible place.

• Take an extra credit card for emergencies. As an added precaution, take an extra card with you in case the main card you are using gets lost or stolen. Large charges on non-local transactions can cause your account to close temporarily for fraud detection until you verify the charges are legitimate. Notify issuers there may be heightened card activity in your destination cities before you travel.

• Keep track of your receipts. Never leave receipts from ATM machines, credit card purchases or gas stations.

• Remain alert. High traffic areas such as airports, train stations and theme parks are busy venues that attract thieves. Keep cash and credit cards in a travel pouch inside your clothes.

• Safeguard rental agreements. Never keep this information in the car, especially since it contains personal information that thieves can use.

• Lock your laptop. If you are planning to travel with your laptop, remember to store it in a safe place. This will make it harder for thieves to steal or hack into any personal financial information you have stored.

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If you would like more information on “Travel Tips for Reducing Chances of Identity Theft” feel free to contact Gail Gilman, Family Life Consultant, M.Ed., C.F.C.S. and Professor Emeritus – University of Minnesota at waldn001@umn.edu. Be sure to watch for more Family Living Focus™ information in next week’s paper.

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