Protecting your identity starts before you leave home by limiting exposure to your personal information. A few steps you might think about taking are to:
- Contact your local post office to hold your mail until you return.
- Place your Social Security card in a secure location, whether it's a designated spot at home or in a safe deposit box at BancorpSouth.
- Cut back on what's in your wallet. Remove any identification cards or credit cards you won't need, which will help to minimize your risk of exposure if you lose your wallet while traveling.
If your wallet is lost or stolen, don't delay action. Some immediate steps you might consider taking are to:
- Call the issuers of your credit cards, debit cards, insurance cards and driver's license and cancel them. The longer you wait, the more exposure those cards will have.
- File a police report with local law enforcement officials. Submitting a report might help establish your credibility if your cards are used in fraudulent transactions.
- Contact the three national credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to place fraud alerts on your credit report. These alerts might prevent new accounts from being opened in your name.
Once you return home from your trip, you might consider doing these things to help further thwart identity theft:
- Study your credit card and other financial account statements for unexplained purchases. If you do suspect fraud, be sure to call the customer service number on your account statement immediately. For BancorpSouth credit card and debit card holders, that number is 1-888-797-7711.
- Order copies of your credit reports - one from each of the national credit bureaus mentioned above. Check the reports for any new credit accounts that someone might have opened in your name without your permission. If you notice any suspicious activity on your report, be sure to contact the credit bureaus immediately.
Traveling should be a fun experience, but identity theft can quickly ruin a vacation. By taking the steps above, you will make a great start to protecting your identity while on vacation.
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