January 28, 2023

Holiday blues? Searches for ‘Avoid ID theft’ are up

Over 2,000 flights cancelled as Omicron hits holiday travel


Travelers walk to a security check point at LaGuardia Airport in New York, on December 24, 2021 – Copyright ANONYMOUS/AFP Handout

As holiday trips are underway, many people are keen to resume travelling the world. However, people need to stay alert and aware during their travels as identity theft is a very real risk.

McAfee has analysed Google Search trends to determine if people are aware of identity theft risks while planning for their summer voyages. Here there appears to be enhanced public awareness, with searches for “avoid ID theft” up 1,600 percent, and searches for “how not to get pickpocketed” is up 100 percent since last year, showing tourists want to learn more about protecting themselves abroad.

In addition, searching for “Worst City For Pickpockets” up 400 percent as summer tourists begin their travels.

In particular, people are becoming more concerned about protecting their identities – especially when traveling to a new destination that is commonly associated with credit card theft or pickpocketing.

Some of the most well-known places for getting pickpocketed are the highly coveted summer travel spots in Europe. Here the top five are:

  • Barcelona
  • Rome
  • Prague
  • Madrid
  • Paris

The McAfee report offers some core tips to avoid identity theft this summer. These are:

  • Be on the lookout: Check your bank statement and credit report regularly to ensure no extra charges to your account.
  • Reach out to local law enforcement: Some banks may make you show them a police report before they reimburse you for any fraudulent charges or withdrawals.
  • Contact the company where your ID is being used: Let the businesses where your information is being used know what’s happened.
  • Get in touch with the three big credit bureaus: Call or message TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian right away.
  • File a report: Reporting identity fraud can help spread awareness of scams and identity theft tactics so others don’t fall victim to them.

These risks and associated preventive measures highlight the very real danger of identity theft.