Identity Theft – Keeping Expat Financial Secrets Safe

Living life on the move is nothing new for many expats and this can expose even the most security-conscious of them living and working overseas open to theft and fraud.

While many expats are clued up about life and culture in other countries, protecting their health and possessions is a top priority.

However, many simply overlook identity theft and the problems that having crooks intrude into their lives can bring, according to financial information firm Experian.

Criminal damage

Researchers looked at hundreds of cases of identity theft worldwide and come up with a four point check list for safeguarding their identity and finances for expats and regular travellers.

“Few expats think about protecting their identity, often because they have many more other priorities,” said a spokesman for the firm.

“But it can take months to sort the damage of having your personal information getting into the hands of a criminal.”

Safeguarding your identity

The firm has four top tips for safeguarding expat identities:

  • Empty out wallets, purses and handbags and only carry the cards and other essential documents you are likely to need why you are away from your home or hotel.

Bills, receipts and other documents with personal and financial details can help a fraudster work out who you bank with and can sometimes give them a clue to online account passwords

  • Be careful at free wi-fi hotspots and internet cafes. Some crooks target them to hack into insecure computers, tablets and phones.

Make sure any financial or personal web sites you are accessing are encrypted – the browser will show a padlocks symbol and the site address will start with ‘https’ to show this. Always log out of the web site when browsing has finished

  • Protect yourself – switch on firewalls and set antivirus software to update automatically to make life harder for hackers and phishers. It’s no good installing the software are then not maintaining tools and patches as criminals  are sophisticated and continually develop their methods for breaking into computers

Don’t use the same password for all your accounts and get into the habit of changing the regularly

  • Check card and bank balances regularly so you can spot any suspicious transactions straight away

“Protecting your identity from thieves and fraudsters not only means reducing the chances of losing money but also makes sure your credit rating is not compromised,” said the Experian spokesman.

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