Summer is a hot time for identity theft; avoid these things

Posted at 3:32 PM, Jul 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-18 15:32:55-04

Between travel, vacations, and sending the kids off to camp, summer can be a hot time for identity theft.

Check out some risky situations to avoid, in today's Consumer Watch.

Travelers probably don't want to think about identity theft on vacation.

But certain aspects of summer fun can leave anyone in the family susceptible to scams.

Consumer Reports recommends traveling with a minimum number of documents and other items with sensitive personal information. For example, leave social security cards and extra credit cards at home.

Also make bank and credit card companies aware of travel plans, so they can better monitor fraud. You can even put a travel alert on your debit cards, through some banks.

The Federal Trade Commission warns hotel guests of certain common scams, including calls purportedly from the front desk seeking verification of a credit card number.

When a hotel really has an issue with a credit card, they'll ask guests to come to the desk to deal with it face-to-face.

Another pitfall, fake wi-fi networks. Confirm the hotel's authorized network at check-in to avoid handing information over to scammers.

And identity theft isn't limited to adults. Children's social security numbers can be a target because they provide a clean slate for scammers to open credit accounts and because most parents don't suspect young ones could be victims of fraud.

When a child attends summer camp or another summer program, the FTC urges parents to find out where personal information is stored, how those records are used, and who has access.