Cases of identity theft have grown steadily over the past several years, from 12.6 million reports in 2012 compared to 16.7 million in 2017. Since 2012, victims of stolen identities have been robbed of more than 100 billion dollars.
As the years go on and hackers and scam artists develop more and more sophisticated methods of stealing your sensitive information, the chances that you might experience identity theft increase.
While everyone living in the digital age needs to practice information security, one of the times our information is most vulnerable is when we travel. Holiday Shell’s commitment to helping you stay safe on the road extends even to your financial health. That’s why we put together this straightforward guide on how to protect yourself from identity theft while traveling.
Hold The Mail
If you are going to be out of town for more than just a couple of days, you should contact the local post office to stop your mail service while you are away. (Don’t worry, you can even set up hold mail online these days). All it takes is one mail thief to steal one piece of sensitive mail to get the information they need to make your identity their own.
Watch What You Post
You may be tempted to post a play by play of your adventurous travels to Facebook, Instagram, or your social platform of choice. However, consider the risk you are putting yourself in. First off, you are broadcasting to potential burglars that your house is vacant and unprotected. If they can gain entrance, not only could you be looted of your valuable belongings, but they could easily rifle through your files or computer to find sensitive information like your social security or bank account numbers.
Consider creating private groups on social media that you only invite close friends and family too. Then you can share live photos without running the risk of exposing yourself to theft.
Use Secure Wi-fi Only
Most public wi-fi networks are a hacker’s dream come true. To be available for anyone’s use, these wi-fi connections are typically unsecured. Without getting too technical about it, just know that this makes your information infinitely more accessible to the people you don’t want getting a hold of it.
Make sure that any website that you are sharing any information on, especially login credentials, is secured with an SSL certificate. An easy way to do this is to check the URL. It will begin with either HTTP or HTTPS. The “S” indicates that the website is secure, so beware if the website you are using lacks this necessary security feature.
Password Lock Your Phone
You have no idea how much information is on your phone. From your browsing history to your email to your thousands of photos. All of these are seeds that a scam artist can use to plant an overgrowth of stolen identity.
By securing your smartphone with a password, you can ensure that this information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, even if your phone is lost or stolen.
Stay Safe While You Travel
From all of us at Holiday Shell, we wish you safe and happy travels wherever the road may take you. Be sure that you take just as much care of your information security as you do your bodily health.