With the holiday season rapidly approaching, millions of Americans are making travel plans to spend time with friends and family. Last year nearly 47 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more during the Thanksgiving holiday1.
While the majority of holiday travel is with personal vehicles, additional travelers flood airports, bus stations or other commercial transportation hubs. On average, travelers during the holiday season will travel over 200 miles for each trip2.
As people flock to spend the holidays with loved ones, the added travel can also open the door for potential fraud and theft. As you prepare for holiday travel this season, keep these tips in mind to help protect yourself from thieves.
- Password Protect Your Devices. While it may seem simple, enabling a passcode or password on your mobile device can help protect your personal information if your device is lost or stolen. Even leaving your device alone for just a few moments can open the door for theft.
- Be Aware of Your Surroundings. When in public places, keep an eye out for others around you. Shield your screen while using a computer, tablet or smartphone as thieves are able to shoulder surf to get personal information while you are using your devices.
- Turn Bluetooth Off. While using Bluetooth devices can add convenience to traveling, be sure to turn off the Bluetooth feature when in public places as criminals have the ability to pair to your device and steal personal information.
- Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi Networks. During layovers or travel stops, it can be tempting to get on the internet to pass the time. When doing so, only connect to secure networks as unsecured networks provide a way for hackers to access your information.
- Pack Light. Many people pack to be prepared for anything that arises when traveling for the holidays. However, by packing light and leaving as many valuables and credit cards at home as possible, can help to reduce the risk of theft.
- Don’t Post Travel Plans Online. Many times people will post to social media accounts about their travel plans or vacations. Criminals can see this and use it as an open invitation to break into your home.
- Use Credit Cards with an EMV Chip. When traveling, use a credit or debit card with an EMV chip, if possible, as this can protect you from skimming or other card swiping scams designed to steal your information.
While there is no sure way to prevent fraud, following these tips can help to reduce your risk of theft and give you peace of mind during the hectic travel season.