How to Protect Your Personal Information While Traveling
You’re about to head home at the end of your trip. You stop at your hotel’s business center to print your boarding pass because, after all, it’s convenient and a common service offered by many hotels. You then take a car service ride to the airport, get on your plane and continue your journey home thinking everything is great. But did you know that if your hotel wasn’t careful with its security features, you could have put your personal information at risk?
According to the Agari 2014 Email TrustIndex, the travel industry is an increasingly popular target for email phishing scams and other modes of identity theft. As a traveler, it falls to you not only to choose hotels that will protect your information the best they can, but to remain cognizant of how you can safeguard your personal data.
Here are a few tactics for keeping your personal information out of the wrong hands while you’re on the road.
Understand the Threats
To best protect yourself from hackers, you’ll need to understand how these criminals can access your information. The Department of Homeland Security explained that identity theft is common when travelers are using unsecured wireless networks, when Bluetooth-enabled devices are hacked or when individuals leave their devices unattended.
When you’re staying at a hotel or lounging in an airport, you might want to connect to WiFi so you can browse the Internet on your phone or tablet. However, this can be your downfall if you log into an unsecured network. These connections are easy for hackers to tap into, and if you check your bank account, make an online purchase or sign into your work email, someone can take your credentials. For this reason, you should only connect to WiFi networks that require a security key for access.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals can also gain access to your personal information if you leave your Bluetooth on. Sophisticated devices can pair a hacker’s phone with yours via Bluetooth, and they can steal sensitive data you may have stored. So if you’re not using this service, make sure to turn it off.
“83 million people were victims of security breaches in 2014.”
Choose the Right Vendors
Over the course of 2014, more than 83 million Americans’ personal datawas compromised through online breaches, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. These intrusions can occur at businesses both big and small, but there are ways that you can mitigate the risk. Before you book a hotel or schedule a car service ride, look into the company’s privacy policies. CIO magazine suggested that security conscious hotels often have video surveillance of public computers or set up virtual desktops for each new user. These tactics can help reduce the risk of a data breach, so ask about these features before you head over to your hotel’s business center.
There are also steps transportation vendors can take to protect the information of customers.
“GroundLink uses data encryption software to safeguard customer information, and we maintain and are awarded payment card industry – also called PCI – compliance standards,” explained Dean Sivley, GroundLink’s CEO. “We’re dedicated to keeping our customers’ information safe.”
It’s a good idea to look into the security practices of any vendor you use while you’re on the road, especially if you’ve never patronized the business before.