Did you know that the most wonderful time of the year is also the most traveled? We’ve talked at length about how to protect your identity while you are holiday shopping for your loved ones, Preventing Identity Theft During Holidays but have you thought about how you will protect your identity before you hit the road this holiday season?

Fraud Expert, John Sileo, offers the following steps you can take to protect your identity during holiday travel.

  • Only book travel through a legitimate agency or website. Read the fine print before signing.

  • Pay for your travel arrangements with a credit card - it gives you more leverage in disputing fraudulent charges than your bank will if you use a debit card.

  • Turn on automatic account alerts on your credit card to easily monitor all transaction (via smartphone) without having to look at statements.

  • Turn on remote tracking and wiping software on your smartphone so that if it is lost, you can locate and/or wipe the data off from anywhere.

  • Make sure that your laptop computer has strong, alpha-numeric password encryption.

  • Make a front and back photocopy of your passport (if traveling international), driver’s license and credit/debit cards, then store it separate from your purse/wallet (i.e. hotel room safe) in case of loss. This is especially important for your debit/credit cards so you can quickly contact the appropriate banks.

  • Not only can professional pickpocketers open backpacks and purses without you knowing, but if you have RFID credit cards, they can electronically pickpocket you from a distance. Consider investing in an RFID-blocking wallet, such as those pictured right.

  • Free Wi-Fi hotspots are a simple way for thieves to eavesdrop on your activity. Instead, rely on your own cellular data plan… you can contact your provider for international data plans and “tethering” instructions.

  • At ATMs, make sure that there isn’t a skimming device attached by wiggling anything that sticks out from the machine.

  • If you are staying in a hotel, put the privacy sign on your door. Unmade beds are better than stolen documents or devices.

  • Never give credit card or other information over the phone in your hotel - many scams look like the front desk calling for your information.