TRAVEL SMART AND THEFT

I will attempt to cover several topics here....

First, since you are reading this, I know that you are using a computer.   If you are like me, you have stored a lot valuable and often irreplaceable information of your computer.   This is great, but what if your computer gets stolen, or your data gets lost? WORSE YET - What if your wallet or purse gets lost or stolen? Let's explore these issues and determine steps we can take to minimize the consequences if this happens to you.

Everyone knows the importance of backing up critical data on your computer.   But, placing the back-up copy in your coach would be of little use if your coach goes up in flames.   Of course this would be a really horrific experience, but you would have one less worry if you take some precautions to protect your valuable information.

Here are some ideas for storing your data back-up in a place other than your coach:

  1. Store a copy in your toad.
  2. Send a copy to a relative or friend.
  3. Electronically send your important data to an on-line storage company.   (NOTE: There are several firms that offer this service for free on the web.   However, personally I do not entirely trust this process.

To protect your privacy, you may want to encrypt your data no matter what method you chose to store it off-site.

One of the first things we did when we started full-timing was to make a list of ALL important information and contact information.   This list includes all of our credit cards and contact information for cancelling them.   Also, all of the important information for our health care, calling cards, RV clubs, emergency road services, insurance, drivers license, financial information, etc is included on this list.   One copy of this list is kept in the coach, one copy is kept in the toad, and other copies are kept by relatives.

Now that we have our all our important information safely stored away, if we lose our wallet or purse, we can quickly make calls to report this.

If you do lose any of your credit cards, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you file a police report immediately in the jurisdiction that it happened, Be sure to get copies of the police report as these will likely be required by your credit card issuer to limit your loss.

ALSO, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you call the three national credit reporting agencies and have them place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.   The alert means that any company checking your credit is made aware that your information was stolen and they must contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the names and telephone number of the three national credit-reporting agencies:

  1. Equifax 1-800 525-6285
  2. Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
  3. Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration also has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271 that you should also call.

I hope that you never need any of this, but if you do, you will be thankful that you have all this information quickly and easily at hand.
Bob Cook with thanks to Gerry Shirey for providing input