With the holidays right around the corner, a lot of us are thinking about packing up and heading out for a few weeks. After all, this is the perfect opportunity to visit friends and family, as well as cherish some time in a place you’ve never been. However, if you’re not careful, this is also a moment where hackers, thieves, and other bad actors are out to steal your information.
Year after year people are subject to identity theft and fraud while they’re away, which has become a growing trend over the years. And while that may sound scary, as long as you’re cautious and mindful of the different ways that these folks get your materials, then you’ll most likely be alright. That’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful tips to keep an eye out for. Check them out below:
Don’t Leave Your Stuff Unattended
Although considered a general rule of thumb regardless, it’s important not to leave your things unattended, especially while traveling. Thieves are able to spot a traveler from a mile away, and even more, will take advantage of your simple mistakes. This is especially true for electronics, which someone can upload key tracking to your computer in a matter of seconds. All-in-all, be extra careful with your belongings while out, as you never know who has an eye on you.
Leave Out The Unnecessary Details
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes people make while traveling is explaining too much to others they meet. No matter if you’re really excited or frantic, telling others unnecessary details could lead to trouble, especially if they don’t have your best interest in mind. For example, if you’re visiting someone who’s in a treatment center, then explaining that to someone you meet while out could only leave you vulnerable to them knowing exactly where you’ll be and when. Instead, only divulge what you need to, and save the rest for those you can trust.
Check The Specs In Advance
When traveling, always make sure that where you’re staying is going to be secure. Quite simply, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is, especially with lodging in popular touristy areas. For example, if I’m going to be staying at a hotel for a few days, then knowing that they have a cyber security network setup for their Wi-Fi will be vital, as that will be a spot for hackers to prey upon. Additionally, it might not be a bad idea to reset your passwords to ramp up on security before you depart, as well as create separate email accounts for travel. And finally, always read the comments left by other travelers to see if there any red flags that might pop out.
Use Cash When You Can
As credit card scammers are everywhere, keeping some cash around is always a smart plan, including a backup stash with your luggage. As creditcards.com notes, 1,500 data breaches are expected for 2017, which is a pretty staggering statistic when you factor in that those breaches potentially hold the sensitive information of thousands, if not millions of people. Plus, if you’re traveling somewhere that has less regulation over who can run credit or debit cards, you could potentially be walking into a pretty dangerous situation in having your numbers stolen. Keep some cash around, as it will ease a significant amount of stress.
Be Extra Careful Around The Holidays
It’s no secret that the holidays are one of the most frequented times to travel. No matter if it’s to visit family or take that vacation you’ve been after, having your identity stolen while on the road happens much more often than you’d imagine. According to Statista, approximately 21 percent of respondents said that identity theft occurred while they were traveling.
Yes, identity theft on vacation is no joke, so take the time to secure everything, including locking up important documents, communicating with your bank/card issuers, and even keeping the conversation about travel to a minimum. No matter if it’s at home or abroad, these steps are crucial to follow and can save you tremendously in the long run.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi When You Can
Finally, a huge place for criminals to steal your information is off of public wifi, which you should try your best to avoid while traveling. As noted by ABC News, an estimated 95 percent of public wifi is unencrypted, meaning that it’s completely susceptible to an attack. If you find yourself having to use the internet while you’re away, try and find trusted places, or even get an international hotspot. Trust me, strategies like this will save you a lot of headache from your information being stolen.
What are some strategies that you use to keep your information safe while traveling? Comment with your answers below!