Identity theft doesn’t take vacations
ProtectMyID™’s new survey data reveals vacationers are not taking necessary precautions to protect themselves from identity theft
Irvine, Calif., June 28, 2011 — Experian’s ProtectMyID™, a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution, recently commissioned a survey1 to understand if summer travelers will be taking the necessary steps to protect their identities before heading on vacation. The results showed that many people are still vulnerable to identity theft.
“The survey results were very telling about the many ways your identity can be exposed when you travel,” said Jennifer Leuer, senior vice president of Experian Consumer Direct, which owns ProtectMyID. “What people don’t realize is that thieves wait for summer vacation, too — not to take in some beautiful sights, but to take unsuspecting travelers’ information.”
Identity theft is a real risk and one that is amplified during the summer months. Survey results indicated that, whether booking flights at home, logging on at a Wi-Fi hotspot in the airport or surfing the Web in a hotel room, people can put their information at risk if their connection is not secure. Other findings indicated that an alarming number of people are not protecting their sensitive documents before leaving on vacation. In fact, 76 percent of consumers do not place personal items in a safe or safety deposit box when they depart for their trip.
ProtectMyID provides members, such as those who embark on travel adventures, with multiple layers of defense against identity theft. Key product features include: Surveillance Alerts™, scanning the Internet daily for potentially fraudulent use of members’ personal information, access to a dedicated Identity Theft Resolution Agent should the need arise, and notification if a change of address action is initiated, a common practice among identity thieves.
“Many identity thieves know peak travel times and simply break into empty homes in search of information,” said Linda Foley, founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “Think about where your bank statements, Social Security cards, and other important documents are right now. If they’re not secure, you’re at a higher risk for identity theft.”
Additional results indicated that enterprising identity thieves who monitor social networks or online activity will find plenty of victims. About one-fifth of all survey respondents post their travel plans to social networking sites, and the number increases in the 18-to-34 demographic. Survey trends also showed the bulk of travelers staying connected while on vacation, with a disturbing number accessing public Wi-Fi, increasing their personal data’s vulnerability.
“The summer months are traditionally peak travel times,” said Wendy Sabins, senior vice president of the Automobile Club of Southern California, which offers a ProtectMyID membership benefit. “We all should relax while we’re on vacation, but planning ahead is the key to enjoying a trip. That should include safeguarding your identity before you leave and taking steps on vacation to ensure you have a monitoring service in place that will notify you if something does happen."
Whether on a staycation or a far away vacation, following are ProtectMyID summer travel tips that people can do themselves as way to better protect their identities:
1 Study was conducted in June 2011 by Impulse Research Group
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About Experian’s ProtectMyID
ProtectMyID is a leading, full-service provider of identity theft detection, protection and fraud resolution. ProtectMyID offers comprehensive identity theft protection products supported by experienced identity theft resolution professionals who deliver personal attention that customers can rely on. ProtectMyID.com is a Website owned by ConsumerInfo.com, Inc., an Experian company. For more information about how ProtectMyID helps consumers protect themselves against identity theft, please visit http://www.ProtectMyID.com.
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 80 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2011 was US$4.2 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 41 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.