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Safeguard Your Identity

Before we start discussing how to help safeguard your identity while on vacation, I received an interesting question, which some other people might have, so I’m going to share it.

What is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) blocking card carrier, plus does it actually work? Let’s start with RFID. This is new technology that allows digital information to be stored on payment cards and other transaction items. Tiny radio frequency tags hold information, just like a bar code and magnetic strips do.

Of course, with new tech-knowledge to safeguard your information comes new ways to steal it. Identity thieves are now using RFID skimming devices to scan, read, as well as capture information from payment cards embedded with RFID tags. This can be done just by being near you, they don’t have to even touch or see the card. Yes, this is pretty cutting edge stuff we are talking about. A RFID case or carrier will block the signal from the skimmer, and the skimmer will be unable to read, or steal the information off your card. So yes, they do work.

Now back to the topic at hand. Before you leave on your next trip, clean out your purse or wallet. Remove all unnecessary cards and other items. Remember; do not carry your Social Security card number. If you are traveling with your passport, make sure you keep it secure at all times. If it’s stolen or misplace, not only will you have problems getting back home, but you will also become the victim of identity theft.

Avoid using public or shared computers. They could have information stealing software loaded on them. If you must use one, avoid entering any personal information or logging onto online accounts, as well as not using account numbers to make payments or reservations.

Verify calls to your hotel room. A new scam involves someone calling your hotel room claiming to be a desk clerk or some other employee of the hotel. The caller states there is a problem and you need to confirm your credit card number over the phone. If this happens, hang up or tell them you will come down to the front desk and give them the information.

Another new scam involves thieves slipping fliers under your hotel room door advertising fake food delivery services. They hope you will call the listed number and use a credit card to make an order. Of course, you will never receive any food. By the time you figure out it’s a scam, your credit card has been maxed out.

ALWAYS watch out when using open Wi-Fi sites, also known as Wi-Fi hotspots. These can be located at airports, hotels, restaurants, stores, as well as coffee shops. Hot spots are often not secure. This means information you send through some websites or mobile apps can be accessed by other network users, also known as thieves.

Next, we will examine some cyber safety tips, as the internet has become an identity thief’s gold mine.

This information was gathered by Sonora Police Chief Mark Stinson from several different sources such as; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigations, U.S. Government’s Online Safety Site, Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, as well as the Federal and State Departments of Justice.

The first part of this series is here.
Details to avoid charity scams, info here.
Some of the tactics used by identity thieves
Protecting Bank Card Info is here.