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You’ve spent months planning your hotel stay and travel itinerary, but if you didn’t plan to protect your identity while on vacation, your dream retreat can quickly turn into a travel nightmare that lingers long after your bags are unpacked and you’ve returned home. Protect your identity while on vacation with these four travel tips.

Unpack Before Packing

Unpack anything that’s not necessary for your travel, such as checkbooks. When hacked, checking accounts are often the more difficult types of identity theft to resolve. Instead, consider using traveler’s checks, cash or credit cards. It is also wise not to carry your Social Security Card, medical documents, bills or bank statements when you’re on the road. A good rule of thumb, particularly if you’re traveling to a region known for pickpocketing, is if it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t carry it in your wallet or purse.

Be Tech Smart

In our technology driven, always-connected world, it is more important to be tech smart than tech savvy. Be cautious when using shared or insecure internet connections when logging in at public locations, such as cafés, airports and hotels. Identity thieves are notorious for creating faulty Wi-Fi networks designed specifically for scamming unsuspecting travelers. If you do choose to access a public Wi-Fi network, avoid logging into personal accounts, like your bank account, work email or any site that requires a password.

Bank ATM’s Are Your Best Bet

When your cash flow gets low, bank ATM’s are your best bet for withdraws as scammers tend to target these less frequently. Non-bank ATM’s often found in convenience stores and hotels can be equipped by card readers, which a growing number of identity thieves are employing as a way to secretly steal your PIN and card numbers.

Ask For a Postal Hold on Your Mail

While it’s important to protect yourself while traveling, don’t overlook simple precautions at home that can ensure your personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands while you’re away. Asking your post office for a postal hold on your mail, for instance, is a great way to prevent mail from piling up in your mailbox where identity thieves can easily access your information. When requesting this hold, also ask that your mail is only picked up by you with proof of identification, such as a driver’s license or photo ID card.

Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where she works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for AXS.com. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

For more information, visit CBS Chicago’s Identity Theft section

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