Avoiding Identity Theft on Solo Travel : On a past trip to South America, I had a surprise. Our host said he was on a kidnap list. Three of his friends had been kidnapped. In some places, this is a way to get paid ransom as a type of business practice.
I had thought this was just in war zones or as a risk for the very rich. I knew no one who was in such harm’s way.
Fast forward to the present: In the past, to be paid ransom, hostage taking took a lot of work. Today it is easy. Why? Criminals can avoid the middle man, the hostage! They can take data or use schemes to get paid with no hostage. The growth is in identity theft. To get key data on the Web or by a hard copy is easy. There is no need to take a hostage when you can get a large group of victims with a few key strokes!
This is a growth industry.
With tech changes, this crime has now advanced. Business and hospital systems are held hostage for ransom, too.
In Mexico, there have been cases now known as “virtual kidnapping”: A lost or stolen cell phone or device was the hostage. The wily bad guys would then use the phone. They would call the loved ones and say pay up to get him or her back. The victim may not know the phone or device was lost. With no time to spare, people aid up without knowing the fate of the “hostage”. Once funds were sent they might find out the truth that there was no hostage at all! I have read that after a number of such crimes, Mexico has now set up a registry to try to track down such virtual kidnappers.
With the assist of the Web, scams have gone around the world. The Internet opens the way for enterprising individuals to learn from scams in other countries. On trips to both Buenos Aires and Barcelona, Spain, I was with my sports club in both spots. A passerby told my friends that a bird had sprayed their back. While all looked up at the trees to find the bad bird, the thieves had their wallets. What a surprise! This very thing took place twice in such distant places!
The dangers exist 24/7 at home and abroad. On travel, the risks increase though. Why is that? Two reasons. First, tourists may be jetlagged in a strange place. That means that normal defenses are down. Second, travelers tend to take credit cards, cash and data on passports and financial documents. The result? Losses can be great. The time spent can be great. Think about having to cancel credit cards and replace passports. You can send a great part of a trip working on this. Add to it having to buy a new hone or even computer. As a result of tech advances, those losses can cause months, if not years, of tough problems from such ID theft.
5 Tips How to Avoid Identity Theft on Solo Travel : Lost Devices:
- Keep your phone and hand held devices out of sight.
- Treat them as you would a credit card or your passport.
- Put them in a money belt. Wear it at your waist out of sight under a shirt or other clothes.
Consider deleting your mobile banking app from your devices on travel.
- Password protect your phone and devices while you are away
- Clear your calling history.
5 Tips How to Avoid Identity Theft on Solo Travel : Protect Your Information:
- List your home and family on your phone under nick names.
- Take out personal photos and items from your wallet.
- Don’t leave your room key card in your hotel room. It may have credit card or other data on it. Be sure to put credit cards with chips in an aluminum wallet or sleeve. You can find both on the Web. A quick fix? Go to your kitchen and make an aluminum cover for each credit card.
Conclusion: Don’t turn your dream trip into a nightmare! Please go to our Solo Trekker 4 U Contacts page. Then send us your own tips on how to avoid identity theft on travel now.