Capital One warns Brits abroad to protect their identities

17 August 2007
Holidaymakers should be on their guard against thieves who seek to steal their identities, warns Capital One.

New research from Capital One has revealed that nearly half of those that travel abroad do not use safes provided in hotels to protect valuable personal belongings like passports and other personal documents, leaving them in hotel rooms or carrying them around.

This could account for the 300,000 British tourists that either lost their passport or had it stolen last year, who would not leave other possessions such as wallets lying around but do not think of the security risk to personal information which is much more valuable to thieves.

Fifty four per cent of holidaymakers do make some effort – 20% hide them in their hotel rooms, and 34% carry such documents with them at all times – but pickpockets are common in popular tourist areas, and thieves are able to piece identities together with information from personal affects such as credit cards and passports.

Sanjiv Yajnik, Principal Managing Director, Capital One says: “Holidays are a relaxing and enjoyable time, but can also be a time when we forget the basic safety rules that we’d always follow when at home - leaving us open to theft. Although cash and jewellery are always easy items for thieves to steal, many canny criminals are now focusing on personal information so that they can steal a holidaymaker’s identity.

“Unsuspecting holidaymakers may return home to find accounts set up in their name, transactions they know nothing about on their bank statements or further activity in their name that they are unaware of.”

Capital One suggests that holidaymakers protect themselves from identity fraud by taking precautions such as not keeping cheque books and credit cards together, taking a photocopy of passports on holiday, using the safe boxes provided in hotels, and reporting a stolen passport immediately.

Getting a credit report regularly can also help, by allowing people to check that nothing has been opened or applied for in their name.

Learn more about identity fraud and get a free credit report