Identity theft is on the rise. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has tracked the exposure of over 179 million records of fraud. There were 14.2 million credit card numbers and close to 158 million social security numbers exposed to fraud in 2017 because of security breaches. Breaches in security can occur at multiple points during transactions when managing travel services. Travelers are vulnerable to identity theft.
The Most Common Identity Theft
The most common form of identity theft is credit card fraud. Credit cards are often used to secure services at all points of a trip. Credit card numbers are used to set aside funds for reservations, pay for services online, over the phone, or at a direct point of sale. Credit cards are carried with people as they travel and are found in wallets, purses, pockets, and electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, and phones.
Actions Travelers Can Do to Protect Against Identity Theft
Do not give out credit card numbers or social security numbers, or sensitive information in the body of an email. A security company will use a method of communication that encrypts the data so a thief cannot intercept the online email transmission to steal the information.
When committing credit card fraud, the thief first finds a way to secure the identity details of the card owner. Then the thief pretends to be the owner of the card while speaking to the bank. Mailing addresses and contact information is changed, so the owner of the card doesn’t receive notifications of the changes. The thief will then claim to the bank that the card was lost or stolen and request a new card be sent to the updated mailing address. The traveler and owner of the credit card then find out their card has stopped working because it was deactivated by the bank for fraud prevention. This adds stress, fear, and inconvenience to a trip for travelers.
The following actions will help guard information from being stolen or accessed by a thief.
When Purchasing Services Using the Internet
• Check the URL bar on the web browser for a locked padlock next to the site address
• Check that the URL address starts with HTTPS:// (the s at the end means ‘secure’)
• Check that the website is a legitimate and trustworthy site
When Using the Telephone to Arrange Travel Services:
• When clicking on links in emails, hover the cursor over the link and look to the bottom left of the screen. The link information in the bottom left should match what is in the body of the message. If the link on the left does not match the link text in the body of the email, confirm separately from the email that the left lower link is a website that belongs to the company providing the services and is not a redirect to a fake website.
Be wary of people calling you and asking you to confirm your identity by revealing sensitive information.
Thieves attempting to steal information can spoof a phone number by making the caller ID show a trusted number on the phone display. They may attempt to pretend to be a financial institution. If a phone call about a credit card is received from an unrecognized number or the caller identity is questionable, hang up and call the number on the back of your credit card and request the Fraud Department.
When Traveling and Handling Personal Items:
Use secure practices for best results. This means not having the same password for all online login portals. Use a different password for the bank login than the one for the email login. Deny thieves access to all resources in one lucky break. Personal items include any object or device that stores personal or financial data.
If notification is received that is a breach in security occurred. Then log into the email first, change the password, and secure the email account. It’s probably the hacker who has the old password. Then login to the bank or credit card portals and change the passwords. The verification correspondence will go to the email, which was just secured with a new password, and then a traveler can secure the bank account or credit card login using verification procedures without the hacker having the new information.
Be careful to also secure documents that prove your identity. This information can be used to open new cards, new lines of credit at stores, and to use existing credit at stores that allow the use of store credit without a card as long as identification is present.
Keep phone numbers for shutting down stolen cards or reporting the theft of information, including account access for arranging or purchasing services online, on a separate piece of paper or a secondary device hidden on your person or in your luggage. If you are traveling and using the limo service, you can also count on the assistance of the chauffeur to help retrieve information such as company phone numbers publicly available, if a personal phone, electronic device, wallet, purse, credit card, or identification document was stolen.
Check and confirm that all personal items are in the owner’s possession when leaving the limousine.
Black Swan Limousine Service takes pride in its execution of duty of care to all travelers and hopes these tips help protect travelers against future identity theft. We care about our clientele and want to provide a safe, smooth transition between all points of travel. When you choose Black swan Limousine for all your travel needs, you will experience the ultimate in luxury, comfort, and style. We are more than happy to offer luxury transportation solutions for all those special trips.