Summer time = be-safe-time!

Welcome to good ol’ summertime!  Although it’s now “official” since we had our longest day of the year last week, it’s been summer in San Antonio for awhile now, and the dog days are just getting started!  We all like to relax and enjoy some leisure time, but this is not the time to be lax on safety!  Of course,  we all are on guard about water safety, sunscreen, staying hydrated, and all the other things concerning our physical safety and that of our families!  But have you considered your financial safety?

Summer time means vacation for many folks and that puts travelers at increased risk.  Traveling means shopping, eating out, checking into hotels, and these are the locations thieves frequent to steal your personal information!  Here are some tips to remember so you’ll stay safe as you vacation and relax this summer:

Before you go:  Don’t post your travel plans on Facebook and social media sites–no need to advertise to thieves that your home is unoccupied for days!  And stop mail and newspaper delivery or arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick up for you so it’s not obvious to casual observers that no one’s home!   You might want to consider notifying your bank and credit card companies about your plans or set up alerts for unusual or excessive charges.  Also arrange for yard maintenance while you’re gone, including watering if you don’t want to come home to a brown yard!

What to take/not to take:  Travel light!  Do not carry all your credit cards.  Leave your social security card at home (safe and secure of course!).  Make copies of your passport and other travel documents.  Store phone numbers for your credit/debit card companies on your smartphone in case your wallet or purse is stolen.

While you’re traveling:  Use only secure internet connections in hotels and other public places.  If you must use public Wi-Fi or computers, do not access financial information or other personal sites on these unsecured connections.   If you’re carrying valuables, lock them up in the hotel safe.  That includes your passport, jewelry, electronics, other important documents.   Keep all your receipts.

When you return:  Cross check your receipts against your bank and credit card statements.  Remember to start your mail and newspaper deliveries back up!   Enjoy the memories you made with your family and friends and start planning for next year!