It’s that time again: long sunny days, vacations in warm locales—the last thing you want to worry about as you’re planning your next summer getaway is being duped by travel-related scams on phony websites or having your identity stolen if your mobile device goes missing while on vacation.
Previously, we’ve discussed best practices to keep your personal information safe while browsing the Internet or performing tasks on your mobile device. These tips are just as important to follow while you’re on vacation as they are when you’re at home or in your office. Below are some proactive measures you can take to help keep your personal information and your mobile devices protected in your travels.
When planning your trip, be on the lookout for online travel scams. These fake “deals” can ruin a trip before it even begins, by tricking you into providing your credit card or personal information for a deal that could very well be too good to be true. Keep your searches safe by using McAfee® SiteAdvisor® software, which protects users from potential malicious websites by providing color-coded safety ratings to indicate a site’s risk level.
When it comes to your mobile devices, prepare for the worst and perform a full back up of your devices so that in the event of a loss, you can upload your most recent data to a new device.
During Your Trip
Try to avoid the use of global positioning service (GPS) and location-based services, including social check-ins on sites like Foursquare or Facebook and uploading photos via mobile. This can give away the location of your hotel and leave you susceptible to potential thefts, and it can also alert thieves back home that an empty house is open for the taking.
Be cautious when using Wi-Fi–this goes for all occasions, but especially while you’re on vacation and might not have access to a secure signal. Unprotected or public signals can send your information straight to hackers and identity thieves. Most hotels offer secure services, but even then, try to avoid accessing bank or financial accounts or other password-sensitive services. Over unsecure Wi-Fi networks, cybercriminals can access your device and record your actions remotely, gaining passwords and login information along the way. But do keep contact information for your bank and credit card companies with you, in case of an emergency.
When going out for the day, consider using a hotel safe to store mobile devices and other personal belongings.
Once You Return Home
Check your bills, bank statements and other pertinent accounts for any unusual activity. In the event that your device or information was compromised, catching unauthorized transactions early will help you to resolve the issues in a timely manner.
However, sometimes, bad things just happen no matter how hard you try to prevent them. Phones get lost, destroyed, dropped in a lake, or stolen. Not only is it an inconvenience, the loss of a mobile device can leave you open to identity theft and other threats, if it were to fall into the wrong hands.
Here are a few more tips to help protect your device and your valuable information in the unfortunate event that your device does get compromised during your trip:
- Have your device password-locked to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your smartphone or tablet.
- Avoid storing sensitive information such as bank accounts and credit card numbers on your mobile device. If you do have that information on your phone, remove it.
- Back up your data on your devices before you leave on your trip. Use comprehensive protection for your smartphone and tablet like McAfee® Mobile Security that provides remote lock-and-wipe capabilities in the event of loss or theft, or to protect all of your devices, including your laptops, use McAfee LiveSafe™ service.
For further discussion on mobile safety, and to get the scoop on top protection measures, use the hashtag #ChatSTC to join us for a tweet chat on Online/Mobile Safety Tips at Noon PT/3pm ET, Thursday, July 18.