Protect Your Identity for Summer Travel

Protect Your Identity for Summer Travel

You may already be anticipating some of the potential difficulties that could lie ahead for your summer travel such as flight delays, lost luggage, or unpredictable weather. But there is a far more serious threat lurking for travelers: identity theft. Prepare for before, during, and after your summer vacation with ways to help better protect your information on the go.

  • Backup and Update your Devices – Software updates typically fix known security issues, so using outdated software could put your information at risk. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends backing up electronic files, removing sensitive data, installing strong passwords, and updating anti-virus software.

  • Change Passwords and Passcodes – Updating the passcode lock on your mobile device as well as the passwords for any sensitive accounts may give you a little extra peace of mind, particularly if you have been the victim of a data breach in the past (in which case, your old username and password could already be in the hands of a hacker).

  • Enable Two-step Verification – This added verification can help prevent hackers from accessing your accounts (unless they also have your phone). If you are traveling outside of your home country, make sure your phone will work at your destination before setting up this feature.

  • Disable Your Wi-Fi – Turning off your Wi-Fi could help prevent hackers from infiltrating your device over a secured network (such as those found in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and airports). You can enable Wi-Fi again when you are in range of a safe connection.

  • Don’t Overshare on Social Media – Consider the possible consequences of oversharing your travel plans. Posting a photo with your location tagged could give potential thieves the tip that your home and mailbox have been left unattended.

  • Make a Plan for Powering up – In a scheme called “juicejacking”, criminals lure travelers into plugging in their devices for a quick charge while a hidden computer downloads files and information from the device. Avoid public charging stations if you can help it.

  • Know Your Numbers – Keeping a record of your bank account and credit card numbers, as well as the phone numbers of the financial institutions in a secure place, will allow you to quickly notify banks, creditors, and appropriate authorities of theft.

  • Choose Credit Over DebitU.S. federal law limits a consumer’s liability to $50, and some credit cards offer customers zero liability protection. Debit cards are directly connected to your checking account, so if yours gets stolen or hacked, money could be drained from your account.

  • Pack a Travel Wallet – Streamline your wallet or purse by only carrying the card(s) you need for the trip and safely store the others.

  • Choose ATMs Wisely – Use an ATM that is affiliated with your bank whenever possible; Credit card thieves sometimes use a device called a skimmer on ATMs and fuel pumps that obtains the data from the magnetic strip on the back of your card.

  • Use Public Wi-Fi With Caution – Try to limit online banking and other sensitive transactions or communications to secure networks only, as Cyber thieves can capture the data that travels between your phone and the router on a public Wi-Fi network.

  • Don’t let Mail Linger – The U.S. Postal service recommends depositing outgoing mail in a USPS collection box and not leaving mail in your mailbox, overnight, on the weekend, or when you travel. You can also request to have your mail put on “hold” while you are away, where it can safely accumulate at the USPS for up to 30 days.

  • Update Devices and Passwords When you Return Home – Your mobile phone and other electronic devices may be vulnerable to malware if you connected with local networks during your travels. Consider updating your security software and changing the passwords on all devices.

Early detection is the key to avoiding the expense and time to undo damage to your digital health. Contact MedCareComplete to learn about the services offered to help protect you and your family.

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