Traveling this Summer? Valuable Tips to Stay Protected
Today, more people are turning to their personal devices such as their cell phones and tablets to store their personal information; after all, what is a more convenient solution than one that is literally glued to most of us daily? With an increase in online information storage however, comes an increase in the threat of identity theft. This fact is especially true while travelling.
In 2016, over 15 million Americans were victim to identity theft according to Experian. Close to 33 percent of this fraud occurred while people were on their travels.
As stated by Michael Bruemmer, vice president of consumer protection at Experian, the rise of the Internet has only aided hackers in their quest for your personal information. Everywhere we go now, we leave a digital footprint. Information is out there and gone as soon as you click enter or send on your phone/keyboard. This is crucial to keep in mind as information can be exposed faster and easier digitally, than via paper.
So what steps can you take while travelling?
Avoid using public WiFi
Public WiFi makes it really easy for thieves to hack into the information that is stored on your mobile device, yet many people continue to use it while they are travelling, which puts them at substantial risk. What can you do instead? Purchase a portable router to set up your own WiFi connection; you’ll need a local SIM data card to make this happen, but these can be bought at most electronic stores and even at airports.
Protect your phone with passwords and add tracking features
Remember that your phone has confidential information on it such as what data is required to access emails, and in some cases it may even have your credit card information stored. Did you know that only 48% of people password-protect their smartphones? When password protection isn’t used, thieves can hack into your phone without much effort. What happens if your phone is stolen? You should have tracking set up on your phone as well so that if it’s lost or stolen you have a record of where it is. Enable location tracking and make sure passwords are updated and changed regularly for additional protection.
Refrain from posting your location or agenda to social media
A low 32 percent of people refrain from sharing pictures or status updates online while travelling, while 20% disable geotagging on pictures. It is highly recommended that you share and post about your trip once you’re home, as sharing what you’re doing when, gives thieves a head start in locating you to potentially conduct a crime.
Only bring what is required and be sure it’s secure
If travelling abroad you will of course need your passport, but avoid bringing your birth certificate or social security number if and when possible. It’s a good idea to leave a couple of credit cards and debit cards at home as well; you won’t need all of them anyways.
Any sensitive documents or cards you need with you; be sure you keep them locked up in a safe or other secure spot in your hotel room.
Make a list of important documents
Having a record of the documents you are carrying is extremely smart, so if anything should go missing you know exactly what that might be. Prior to your trip, write down a copy of all of your important documents, bank information, health and insurance details. If theft does in fact take place, in doing so you can easily figure out who to contact and what information to give them.
Keep a close eye on credit card reports
Monitoring bank and credit card accounts as well as credit reports is always helpful in discovering any unusual activity under your account. If caught early enough often you can report the suspicions and your credit card company will handle the rest for you.
For more information security tips and ways in which you can stay protected before and after your travels, A1 DATASHRED has your back. We offer electronic destruction and document shredding for all of your unwanted, sensitive data.
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