On April 27, 2016 Generali Global Assistance (GGA) President of Identity and Digital Protection Services, Paige Schaffer, was featured on the WTCM NewsTalk 580 radio segment, Travel Talk with Bonnie Pintozzi, broadcast from Traverse City, Michigan.
Schaffer shared that over 13 million Americans became victims of identity theft in 2015, touching people of all ages and backgrounds. Throughout the interview, she discussed how this growing threat can affect travelers and what they can do to protect themselves. Travelers are more likely to become victims of identity theft; one cause for increased risk while traveling is the use of public devices and networks, like connecting to public Wi-Fi networks or using hotel computers. Another common contributor is the distraction that many travelers experience while trying to “take in” their destination. This distraction often causes travelers to be less aware of their surroundings and less vigilant about protecting their IDs.
Schaffer warned that no one can completely protect themselves against identity theft, revealing that she personally had become a victim while traveling. Momentarily forgetting best travel practices, she was carrying all her IDs, credit cards and cash together when she was pickpocketed and “stuck with just a metro ticket in [her] back pocket.” She shared that like most victims, she felt “alone and stranded” in that moment but despite this setback was reassured that she could rely on GGA’s Iris Identity Protection Team to assist her in securing funds, getting home, monitoring her accounts and reporting the theft to the necessary companies and credit bureaus. She expressed how thankful she was to have a team she could rely on during this frightening situation, allowing her to focus on the business she needed to conduct on the trip. She encouraged others to consider purchasing identity protection services like Iris On Watch so they could have a “24/7 team that [they] could call when [they]’re in trouble,” that would provide them the same peace of mind if they fall victim to identity theft.
One of the best ways travelers can protect themselves, emphasized Schaffer, is to be proactive. This is why GGA offers proactive identity monitoring technology to its Iris customers, which alerts individuals about suspicious activity including the creation of new accounts using their information or the abnormal use of existing accounts. GGA also offers resolution services, to help customers close accounts that were opened with stolen information or to refute fraudulent charges. She explained that proactively purchasing and setting up these services allows customers to have peace of mind when traveling. However, she went on to caution that, because such sensitive information is entered into identity protection companies’ websites, it’s critical for consumers to select a service from a reputable provider.
Travel Talk with Bonnie Pintozzi is sponsored by the Travel Authority, a company owned by ALTOUR, one of the world’s leading travel providers. Beginning in May, ALTOUR began offering identity protection services in partnership with Generali Global Assistance.