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Staying safe online while traveling

(c) NFstock: Adobe Stock

You've chosen the ideal trip location after conducting a thorough study. I take it you're prepared for your ideal getaway? False!


You must first safeguard your identity, as traveling poses a significant danger of identity theft. You're rarely more vulnerable to online identity theft than when you've let your guard down while on vacation. Identity theft is a major headache.


However, follow these useful suggestions to guard against identity theft and enjoy your well-earned vacation without any negative outcomes.


Keep Your Passport Safe


Your passport is essential for traveling to other countries. It is best to keep it safe from impersonators who wish to pass for you.


A radio frequency identification (RFID) chip embedded in passports allows potential criminals to scan the document. Even though it's improbable—they'd need to be right behind you and holding a scanner—you can use an RFID-blocking passport sleeve for extra security.


On unprotected Wi-Fi networks, use a VPN


Public Wi-Fi networks at hotels and airports are typically unprotected, which can be handy but also provide an excellent opportunity for identity thieves to obtain sensitive information such as credit card numbers or login credentials.

To encrypt your internet traffic, always use a VPN. By shielding your data from hackers and other dangers, virtual private networks (VPNs) let you connect to unprotected networks without risk.


Enable Two-Factor Authentication


You must validate every transaction you make while using two-factor authentication. Should the transaction require a phone code for authentication, thieves having access to only one of the two factors—your password, for example—will be unable to perform it.


Even at home, always use two-factor authentication for your online banking and other financial information, as it enhances the security that a password offers.


Instead of using a debit card, use a credit card.


When making purchases at home, you can always use your debit card; save your credit card for online transactions. You should use your credit card rather than a debit card when traveling because debit cards do not offer fraud protection.

Your liability for unauthorized charges on a credit card may be as little as $50, depending on when you notify your credit card provider of the theft or loss. You should also inform your credit card company of your trip plans.


Make a cash payment.


Avoid using your cards while on vacation, as this is the easiest way to keep them safe. Pay with cash to avoid disclosing your credit card information. You can obtain cash before you leave your house if you dislike using foreign ATMs or visiting places with a high crime rate.

Don't keep cash and credit cards in the same place. Rather, store them in various places within your bag and on your person to prevent being without money in the event that you misplace your wallet.


Make Sure Your Device Passwords Are Secure


Even though some of you may roll your eyes at this advice, three out of four people use bad password practices, which puts them in danger of hacking. It is imperative that you avoid using easily guessed passwords, such as ones that include your name, birthdate, or the name of a close relative.


Make sure that strong passwords are protecting every one of your devices, including your smartphone.


Invest in a Money Belt


Online identity theft is frequently just the outcome of routine theft. Do not leave your front or back pockets drooping to attract potential robbers. With a money belt, you can conceal your cash beneath your clothing to keep it secure.


Preventing online identity theft while on vacation can be achieved by not appearing wealthy, since would-be thieves will likely overlook you and move on to their next target.


Make copies of your government ID and passport.


If you've ever misplaced your passport, you are aware of how long it might take to obtain a new one. Making copies of your ID, such as your driver's license and passport, is one way to save yourself stress.


Store these photocopies safely at home, ideally in a location that is only accessible to you and your spouse.


Steer clear of public computers


You have no protection against possible malware or data mining when using public computers. Hackers can gain access to your data by entering sensitive information, such as passwords, social media accounts, and credit card details, on public computers or by signing into an account that you also use for online banking.


While traveling, public computers are handy, but you should never use them, not even with a VPN.


Keep an eye on your finances


Even if it's inconvenient, you should keep an eye on your accounts and use bank alerts to spot any unusual activity. Blocking your credit card might help you prevent identity theft if you catch fraud early.


Similarly, if you think something is wrong, call your bank and request that your account be frozen. Making just one more call could mean the difference between having a great rest of your vacation and ending up as a victim.


Don't settle bills at your lodging


You might be tempted to use the extra time you have while on vacation to catch up on some expenses. Avoid doing that. It's a means by which identity thieves can obtain your personal information online.


Additionally, avoid tossing receipts in the hotel room garbage. If they have any personal information that could be used to perpetrate an online identity theft, take them home to shred.


Don't Publicize Your Vacation


One of your guilty pleasures could be posting photos of yourself at the beach to Facebook or Instagram. It also serves as a welcome to identity thieves, too.


There are two outcomes when you announce that you're on vacation. First of all, it could be an encouragement for common criminals to enter your house and take anything, including private papers. Secondly, in the event that your identity has already been stolen, a thief may choose to utilize your personal data while you're away. Postpone sharing your photos till after you return home.


Activate Remote Wipe and Turn On "Find My Phone."


If your "find my phone" feature is off, it could be difficult to locate your phone if you misplace it while on vacation. Similarly, "find my phone" can notify you that your device is off-site if it is stolen.


If you can't stop the thief from getting access to your information, trying to locate your stolen phone can be ineffective. If you ever need to remotely wipe your smartphone while traveling, you should get proficient at doing so. And remember to always backup all of your data.


Watch Out for Staff Impersonators at Hotels


As demonstrated previously, it is very discouraged to leave electronics containing sensitive data in your hotel room. Even if they appear to come from the front desk, you should still be wary about incoming calls on your hotel phone.


Never divulge your account details or credit card number over the phone. To further their evil intentions, identity thieves will not hesitate to pose as reputable hotel employees.


Switch off Bluetooth.


When not in use, you should always disconnect your Bluetooth connection. Identity thieves can easily identify you if your Bluetooth is on in a crowded place like an airport or resort. If you must have it on, choose "hidden" over "discoverable" mode.


Bluetooth can be used by hackers to download malware or fool you into giving them personal information. Keep your device safe from their attempts to steal your identity.


Avoid using USB chargers.


Identity thieves can access the data on the device you're charging since USB chargers have two wires: one for power and the other for data. Even while using a cord, avoid using USB chargers.


They might still establish a connection with a third party covertly. Use caution while utilizing ridesharing services like as Uber and taxis, as they frequently provide this feature.


File a Suspicious Identity Theft Report


Lastly, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission if you think you may have been the victim of online identity theft while on vacation. They will assist you in proving that your identity was stolen.


In order to get rid of the false information and shield yourself from debt collectors, you also need to put a fraud warning on your credit report. You can also report something to the police if you do not know who the person who tried to steal your identity is.


Final Thoughts


Stay current on threats to travelers, especially if traveling outside the United States. Read reviews on the locations that you are traveling to, know what the climate is there, both meteorological and political. Always have a bug out plan to get back home if airlines or transportation shut down.



 

This article was written by Michael R. Grigsby, one of the news editors for LCTI, LLC. Michael is passionate about the outdoors, photography, strength sports, and powerlifting, and he is dedicated to bringing you accurate and insightful news reports on a wide range of topics. He loves connecting with readers and is always happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have any questions about this news article, please feel free to contact Michael at lctillc@outlook.com or by leaving a comment below.

 

Copyright 2024 LCTI, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without attribution to the author

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