Crooks may use your name and SSN to buy cars that they sell overseas.
Travel during the Summer is a fun and carefree way to spend a few days or weeks. Identity theft, however, could cause worry and serious financial loss. By learning how to protect your personal information when you're on vacation can lessen the chances that data loss and fraud will ruin your downtime. Common actions may increase the danger, from entering payment details to logging onto a public Wi-Fi network.
What can you do to save yourself the hassle of identity theft this summer?
Beware Public Networks
Wi-Fi connections around the world carry the same risks: When you log on to the internet through these wireless connections, your data may be exposed to nefarious users. Security Boulevard cautioned against ever logging into public Wi-Fi, instead recommending portable wireless hotspots. Hackers using Wi-Fi networks can take over devices wholly or steal personal data, and the risk of running into one of these attacks is a serious problem for travelers.
According to NBC News, you'll want to be on the lookout for one specific version of Wi-Fi attacks that tricks internet users into putting their own data in danger: Hackers create fake wireless networks and give them names that sound similar to a hotel's complimentary Wi-Fi. People then log on to the false one without even knowing. Such a scam requires little effort on the part of the attacker and may expose your personal information to fraudsters.
Guard Against Physical Theft
While hackers using fake Wi-Fi networks have a relatively easy path to data theft, individuals who outright steal your devices will have an even easier time getting at your sensitive data. Taking your eyes off your devices in public puts them at risk of disappearing. And when they go, your data goes with them.
Avoid placing your bag down when you go to the restroom, consult a map or do anything else that divides your attention. Criminals know value of saved financial information. They have more incentive than ever to lift whatever devices they can find. Even when you're one vacation, you must stay vigilant when carrying around your mobile devices.
Patch Your Devices
You can make your data harder to steal by keeping your applications and operating systems up to date. When you don't have the latest patches and fixes in place, your smartphone, laptop or other devices may be exposed to old vulnerabilities. Admittedly, manufacturers' updates can't fix every potential problem or avoid every risk, but security while traveling is largely concerned with making your data as hard a target as possible for potential thieves.
According to Computerworld, the main functions of Android devices are largely handled via apps today rather than the operating system. This is a good change from a data security perspective, as it's easier and quicker to update an app than a whole device. Thus, Google does so more often. The security benefits of apps vanish, however, if you aren't diligent about downloading the latest patches when they become available. So, when you have a second - and you do, because you're on vacation - use a little of that time wisely to update your apps.
Keep Security in Mind
You can have fun on vacation and keep your identity secure. You simply have to be mindful of criminals and how they can compromise your information. Stay on guard against their most common tactics by monitoring your identity. Professionals will keep an eye out for potential signs of identity theft while you focus on enjoying yourself, learn how to help protect yourself and your family with Identity Guard.