An amazing vacation can quickly take a bad turn if your personal information is compromised. While protecting your personal information is important in your daily life, when you’re on vacation, you could face new risks where your personal information could be compromised through a digital hack, a theft while travelling, or a robbery back home. Following these seven steps can help you to stay safe and protect your personal information while travelling.
1. Use a Password/Pin on Your Devices
If your device is lost, stolen, or left unattended, an access password is your first line of defence to protecting your information. On mobile devices, it’s common to use a screen lock code or fingerprint scan in order to access the device when it wakes up. On laptops, you can require a password upon boot up and you can also auto-lock the computer to resume after the screen saver is activated.
2. Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public networks do not have the same security as your home network, and hackers may be able to see your activity, usernames, passwords, or account numbers. A better option for accessing the internet is to use a password protected Wi-Fi connection such as through your hotel. Better still would be to use a cellular data connection or a VPN, both of which provide added security to your personal information.
3. Digitally Protect Against a Lost or Stolen Phone
A stolen phone means losing more than those great vacation photos. It also means potentially losing security across your digital accounts. On iOS devices, activating the Find my iPhone setting can allow you to locate your phone if it is missing. Depending on the situation, you’ll also have the option to remotely lock the device by turning on Lost Mode, or you can remotely erase your device to protect your personal information. In the case of theft, don’t forget to also remove the device from your account so that you’re not billed for calls, texts, or data.
4. Sign Up for Fraud Alerts
Using your card at the wrong place could mean that your card number gets skimmed and used for unauthorized charges. Signing up for fraud alerts with your bank and credit card companies can immediately let you know if there is suspicious activity on your account. Many times, you’ll be able to get notifications via email, text message, or phone call, depending on what’s most convenient while you’re travelling.
5. Be Cautious About Oversharing on Social Media
Online sleuths can use what you share publicly as a part of a social engineering scam. If a criminal back home knows your on vacation, they can break into your home where your personal information and valuables could be at risk. Moreover, savvy criminals can also use your social posts while you’re travelling to exploit information vulnerabilities.
6. Don’t Overshare In Person Either
A casual conversation that includes your plans for a long day trip and your lodging could lead to an unpleasant result. A malicious party could see it as a prime opportunity to break into your room while you’re gone all day. This could mean that you’d risk your passport, plane tickets, itinerary, and other personal details.
7. Use Public Information to be Aware of Criminal Histories
Public information databases such as PeopleFinders can help you know if someone you encounter while on vacation has a criminal record. Especially if you are travelling with a group, tour, travel guide, or other travelling companions, knowing a person’s criminal background can help you to further protect yourself against a potential threat. A PeopleFinders criminal records report will reveal arrest records, misdemeanours, felonies, and sex offender status. Knowledge is power, and a report from PeopleFinders can help you stay safe.