When you’re away on vacation you tend to think about protecting your home, but you should also do the same for your identity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, travelers tend to do things that make them more vulnerable to identify theft like using public Wi-Fi, tagging locations you visited, carrying around your passport, and using your credit card more often. Here are some tips to keep your identity safe while on your summer vacation:
- Keep software up to date. To protect against the latest malware threats, set your security software, operating system, internet browser and apps to update automatically.
- Don’t assume public Wi-Fi is secure. Using public Wi-Fi means you’re sharing a network with tons of other people, which puts your own data at risk. Remember to avoid visiting websites that require a log in and contains sensitive information like your bank, social networking or email.
- Consider using a Virtual Private Network(VPN). VPNs encrypt traffic between your device and the VPN provider’s network. This allows you to securely connect to the internet and keeps your exchanges private while using Wi-Fi.
- Check your phone’s settings. If you don’t want to share where you are or where you are going, turn off your cell phone’s location services. You can also custom certain apps to turn on location services only while you use the app. In addition, check the default settings on social media apps to know if your location is being posted along with check-ins and photos.
- Act fast if sensitive information is lost or stolen. Notify your bank if any credit card or debit card goes missing. If any social media accounts get hacked, notify the company’s customer support immediately. The FTC also offers resources for consumers to protect themselves against identify theft if their Social Security number, driver’s license, or credit and debit information are lost or stolen.