As millions of Texans are relaxing at the beach, visiting theme parks, setting sail on cruises or exploring exotic destinations this summer, AAA Texas is reminding travelers to take some simple precautions and prevent ID theft on vacation.
Stop Your Mail
Stop your mail while you’re on vacation. Mail theft continues to be a common way for thieves to access personal data. You can stop in online or by calling (800) 275-8777.
Protect Portable Electronics with Passwords
While you’re out and about on a trip, there are more chances for criminals to take advantage of a couple of minutes of inattention on your part. Thieves need just a couple of minutes with a device to extract personal information, so set up your devices to automatically lock and require a password or passcode to reopen. Experian recommends using a seven-digit passcode instead of the typical four digits for smartphones and tablets.
Be Cautions With Navigation Apps
Don’t store your home address in these apps – if your device is stolen and unlocked while on vacation or at any time, it’s an easy way for a criminal to access it. Instead, use a nearby public location as your “home address” on the app, allowing you to navigate home without risking your security.
Be Wary on Public Wifi
You’ll likely be using more public WiFi spots than usual when you’re on vacation. Avoid conducting financial transactions of any type on public WiFi, because thieves can monitor them with “sniffers” and grab credit card numbers, account numbers and other personal information. If possible, use public WiFi networks that require a password to join. And if your signal strength allows, use your phone’s cellular data service instead of public WiFi.
Be Prepared to Erase Your Device Remotely
If someone does steal your device, you’ll want to remove everything that enables them to assume your identity. Make sure you regularly back up your device online with a service like iCloud, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, so that you won’t lose anything and it can be restored on a replacement device. As soon as you know your device has been stolen, you should follow the procedures from the manufacturer to remotely wipe vital data.
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