by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
Vacations are an exciting, happy time for you to get away and tune out the everyday worries of your day-to-day work and home routine.
Before you head out for a day trip, stateside vacation, or international vacation, you need to take some steps to prevent your personal information from being stolen.
There are things you need to be cautious about, including who you book your vacation with, how you use your tech devices, and what you share on your social media accounts. If you're looking for ways to avoid having your information stolen while vacationing, check out these quick and easy tips to help keep your personal data safe.
1. Book your vacation from secure websites.
Most of you probably know this, but it's always good to reminder to remember to make sure you go directly to the official website of the company you're making reservations from rather than a link. Before you enter in any personal data, make sure the website has "HTTPS" in the URL or address bar of your browser. If you can, stick with the following websites:
Also, consider working directly with a travel agent to make sure your data is kept safe and secure. With an agent, you don't have to worry about if your data will get compromised on a website.
2. Make sure you have passwords or PIN numbers on all of the tech you carry with you.
Mobile tech items like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are high theft items, and you don’t want your data to wind up in the wrong hands.
When picking a PIN or a password, use a strong one that will have the most skilled cybercriminal scratching their head. I know I don't have to tell you never to leave your devices unattended ... right?
3. Keep an eye on those financial accounts while you're traveling.
You know you're on your phone when you first workup, so rather than hopping on social media or email first, log into your financial accounts to keep an eye on suspicious activity. If you catch fraudulent transactions quickly, the easier it will be to recoup your money if something bad happens.
4. Never use public computers.
My advice is to just avoid them like the plague because you never know what information it may collect, but if you must use one, always make sure you’ve logged out of your accounts before leaving. This rule applies to both major hotel chains and Air-B&Bs.
5. Avoid connecting to free public Wi-Fi whenever possible.
If you’re traveling abroad, keep in mind some countries may not have the same regulations on public Wi-Fi as we do in the US. If you have to connect to Wi-Fi, using the ones offered at most major hotel chains is your safest bet.
If you're staying at a privately owned establishment, don't risk it. If you absolutely, positivity have to use that free public Wi-Fi, use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your computer or smart device to keep cybercriminals from intercepting your personal data.
6. Turn off Bluetooth on your devices ... and your Wi-Fi Hot Spot too.
Bluetooth headphones and other devices are great to use, but you want to turn off your Bluetooth and your Wi-Fi as criminals can use these connections to access your devices without your knowledge.
7. Put Your Devices in the hotel safe if you don't take them.
It's worth the price of using the hotel room safe to store your smart devices if you decide not to take them with you. Things you should consider putting the safe are things like laptops, USB drives, external hard drives, or and portable technology. Never leave these things lying around your hotel room and don't think housekeeping won't check out your drawers to see what goodies you have lying around.
It's not like you need one more thing to worry about on vacation, but you should take a few moments to take steps to protect your personal information while on vacation. If you follow the above steps for all of your gadgets before you leave can help you enjoy your vacation with peace of mind.
Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I'm serious about making technology fun and easy to use for everyone.
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