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Travel Lessons From The Obama Passport Breach: Become Identity Vigilant

March 21, 2008 at 9:30 AM | by | ()

When news broke that three separate contractors looked at Barack Obama's passport file three times since January, it got us thinking about protecting your personal information while traveling.

According to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack the breach appears to be an "imprudent curiosity" among the contract workers who viewed Obama's passport.

This incident was similar to a breach of Bill Clinton's passport information during the 1992 presidential campaign. The State Department reported that someone had ripped out pages from his passport file from the late 1960s and '70s, then the FBI investigated.

Don't fool yourself into thinking this sort of thing only happens to those running for president. Identity snoopers can quickly become identity thieves, and those who travel often are most susceptible. After the jump, we put together a quick list of seven things you can do to help protect your private information not only while on the road, but also once you return home.

1. Cover the keypad with your other hand while using an ATM.
C'mon, you have seen all the hidden cameras at gas station stories on Dateline, right?

2. Keep your passport on your person at all times.
Common sense. If your passport is on you then a would be thief will have to fight you for it.

3. Buy a shredder and use it.
Ever look at your credit card statements that you just toss into the trash? Sometimes your account number is printed on these statements.

4. Montior your credit card accounts carefully.
Go online and check in on your account activity. If your card is being used in Montego Bay long after you are back home, well, there you go.

5. Only carry one or two credit cards.
Simplicity rules.

6. When you move, do a change of address immediately.
You don't want your mail hanging around at your old apartment.

7. Don't give out your social security number.
Just don't do it. There are other ways those in need can identify you.

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