As another summer approaches many Americans are looking forward to vacations they’ve been saving and planning for all year. Unfortunately, identity thieves intentionally target travelers and they will not be taking any time off this season. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than finding yourself far from home with no access to funds and spending hours on the phone trying to remedy the situation. Find out where your vulnerabilities lie and take action to protect yourself.
How can you protect yourself while traveling?
- Turn Bluetooth Off – Cyber criminals can remotely infiltrate your device without your knowledge via Bluetooth to steal personal information. If you are not using Bluetooth, turn it off in the settings menu on your device.
- Downplay your laptop or Smartphone – In public, keep your device close to your body. Consider non-traditional bags for carrying your laptop. Avoid handing your phone or camera to strangers to snap pictures for you. They could easily run off with it or quickly access information.
- Be aware of your surroundings – Maintain a bubble of personal space when using your devices in public. Be wary of “shoulder surfers” who may be watching as you enter passwords, read emails, check financial info, etc.
- Be wary of public Wi-Fi networks – Unsecured wireless networks in public places like airports and hotels can leave you susceptible to hackers. Only connect to secure networks, and only use those that ask for a network security key. Never view sensitive information or access bank accounts over unsecured connections.
- Password-protect your devices – If your Smartphone, tablet or laptop is lost or stolen, thieves gain access to any sensitive information you store on it — likely credit card and bank account information at a minimum. Password protecting your devices with a difficult and unique password puts one more layer of protection between these criminals and your data. Additionally, do not write down your passwords or keep them with your device.
Additional resources for personal cyber security at: http://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect