A Guide to Protecting Your Information While Traveling


Can you remember the last time you seamlessly hopped onto the airport's Wi-Fi while waiting for a flight or accessed your hotel's free internet while lounging by the pool? While this seems safe, the truth is that our personal information is not so private, and travelers are incredibly vulnerable to fraud in the simplest of ways.
Protecting personal information remains a difficult challenge that travelers always face and it makes sense, considering the countless unsecured connections we use, personal documents and information we carry digitally, and purchases we make while traveling. Use the following guide to help protect your personal information while you’re on-the-go. 

Complex Passwords 
The best place to start when protecting personal information is by ensuring it's secure with the right type of password. Hackers know people reuse their passwords. For example, when they inevitably manage to obtain millions of usernames and passwords, they use automated tools to try these logins against other websites, including bank accounts, email providers, and social media sites. They also know that people often use simplistic passwords or common phrases; hackers have therefore developed tools to test every variation of dictionary words.

The first step you can take is by making a different password for each high target sites like banking accounts, emails, and social media platforms and ensuring that it is complex and not easily guessable. Many devices will recommend lengthy passwords and remember them for you! Just make sure you aren't saving your passwords on a shared device. Whenever available, enable two-factor authentication so you can thwart any unknown login attempts immediately when they occur.  

Travel Lightly
Before even packing your bags, consider what you absolutely need when it comes to cards, travel documents, identification, and electronic devices. Traveling lightly will lessen the chance of losing anything or the risk of it being stolen. Digitalize any documents you can. For example, many airlines now allow you to board with a digital boarding pass.

In the event that you do lose your luggage, personal belongings, or any personal documents while traveling, your Global Travel Plus plan can help with Lost Luggage and Lost Document Assistance services. Global Travel Plus will work with airlines to recover and deliver your lost belongings, or with your home country’s nearest embassy to replace the document(s). 

In addition, when away from home, many travelers increase their use of social media to stay in touch with friends and family and post their whereabouts and activities. Hold off on posting anything that shows personal information or tells people you will be away from your residence for an extended period. 

Stay Alert
The threat to personal security is often higher when traveling. Scammers often target travelers who are often likely to be more relaxed than in regular settings and carry multiple personal documents and electronic devices containing personal information. Stay alert to different types of scams and potential fraud. If making a purchase, use cash or a credit card. Use caution when withdrawing cash from a foreign ATM. 

It also helps if you are aware of all travel information before leaving on your trip. With the Global Travel Plus Mobile App, you have access to travel information so you can travel smart. Don’t leave for your trip before viewing country profiles and any potential security advisories.

Stay Secure
Travelers also often increase their reliance on free public Wi-Fi, which potentially enables others connected to the same network to access private communications and data or to find ways to infect computers with malicious viruses. Keep in mind that these networks or hotspots are not secure. Only use secured networks, or networks that require login or registration, as connections that are not secured may be unsafe. Do not use public networks for accessing personal information.

Turn off Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth when you are not using them, and don't leave any devices in an insecure location. When connecting to a public network, use a virtual private network (VPN) to create an encrypted connection and ensure that a firewall is installed. Never use a USB charger in a public space as it has more than one wire, one for power and the other for data transfer. Instead, use an AC power brick that plugs directly into an outlet.
Posted: 8/20/2021 10:00:00 AM