Safety Tips for the 4th of July Holiday

Should you trust free WIFI?
The fourth of July is a peak travel week at airports, hotels, train stations, and rental car companies. Most of them offer free WIFI—but should you trust it? Cyber criminals are hoping you do, because it can be the back door to your data. Personal information, credit cards, airline, and hotel loyalty programs are information they would love to get their hands on.

We try so hard to look for free WIFI, that our cell phones, laptops, and smart devices have become a huge security risk. Last year, half a billion travelers had their personal information compromised world-wide. From passports, credit cards, and hotels to frequent flyer information, fake signals can be setup by criminals looking to steal your personal information.

It’s very difficult to know if free WIFI is legitimate
Someone wanting to steal your information could label the WIFI “free airport” or “free coffee shop,” for example. And one simple click can give hackers access to everything on your phone. Even if you stay off WIFI, you could still be at risk. Hackers are now targeting public USB charging stations with viruses that steal your computer data and intercept your cell phone signal. So, what should you do?

Seven Tips to Avoid Public WIFI Traps:
1) Stay off networks you don’t know!
2) Avoid public charging stations and instead carry a personal rechargeable battery
3) Shred your used airline tickets and luggage tags
4) Shred your hotel key instead of returning it to the front desk (they don’t need it back)
5) Look for signs at airports and double check the free WIFI they offer. If you are not sure, ask an employee. Same with hotels – look for the instructions in your room and if you are unsure, ask the front counter representative.
6) Regarding ATM safety – get money directly from your bank or an airport or even cash back from a grocery store. Avoid the ones casually on the street which can be easily hacked.
7) Use a credit card when traveling versus a debit card. You don’t want someone to have easy access into your bank account.

Personal data has never been more at risk. A hacker can setup a table anywhere and lure you into their trap. Especially if you have kids. It’s even more tempting to use public WIFI, so the best thing to do is use the tips above to keep your information safe. Better to be safe than sorry.

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