While most Canadians agree that identity theft is becoming more prevalent, according to Equifax Canada survey research from 2017, vacation is a time when people may let their guard down.
Whether you decide to holiday in Canada or somewhere warmer, there are certain habits that may put you at risk of identity theft.
Before you disconnect, consider the following:
1. Posting status updates about your trip. Your device might help you document every minute of your vacation, but status updates, check-ins and alerting friends and family on social media networks may let identity thieves know where you are. Wait until you return home to post your photos.
2. Traveling with unnecessary documents. Carrying unnecessary documents, such as your social insurance card, can put you at serious risk if any of them are lost or stolen. Leave your cheque book, library card and other cards that display your name and address at home.
3. Allowing mail to pile up at home. This makes it easy for identity thieves to know your house is unoccupied and an easier target for breaking into. Have Canada Post hold your mail until you can collect it or ask a friend or neighbour to retrieve your mail.
4. Using public WiFi. If you are traveling in a region that’s not covered by your mobile plan, it’s tempting to use public WiFi. But this is a risky option because the networks are not typically secured. It’s not difficult for hackers to hijack your documents or email attachments.
5. Leaving sensitive information in your hotel room. You may think your property is safe in the hotel, but leaving sensitive information lying around in your room may put you at higher risk for theft. You should always lock up important documents, laptops and any valuables in the hotel safe.