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Travel Security: Protecting Your Information - Home and Away

by User Not Found | Jul 02, 2018


By: Avery Johnson, SVP and Director of Corporate Real Estate & Physical Security

You work hard all year to enjoy your vacation; the last thing you want to do on that well-deserved break is worry about keeping your information safe while you're traveling. That is why we've compiled some expert tips to help you protect your information at home and away when you travel.

Home

As you prepare to travel, whether it be a short weekend road trip or a ten-day stay in the tropics, it is important to keep your personal information protected while you're away. Summer is a popular time for traveling. It is a good idea to let your bank know when and for how long you will be gone to minimize any interruption when using your debit or credit card(s). Simple things like publicly sharing that you are on vacation on social media or leaving your home clearly uninhabited can be seen as a welcome mat for thieves and fraudsters.

  • Don't let the mail pile: We recommend a trusted neighbor monitor for mail and packages. Letting mail pile up can leave your personal data vulnerable and be an invitation for thieves or fraudsters to steal your personal information; it can also be a clear signal that no one is home, inviting unscrupulous individuals to break-in. In some areas, the US Postal Service offers a Hold Mail Service, offering to safely store your mail at a local post office until you return.
  • Don't overshare: Be careful where and how you share your personal information online. If you plan to post selfies of your adventures away, do a quick security check up on your profiles before you leave. To avoid broadcasting that your home is empty, review your location-identifying settings. Smart phones, tablets and laptops have location services that identify where you are by using GPS or Wi-Fi hotspots. By disabling these settings, your geographic location won't be captured if you tweet or post.
  • Leave an itinerary and emergency contact: Unplugging while on vacation can be great, but try not to go too far under the radar, especially if you're traveling alone. Leave your itinerary (even if it's just as basic as which city you'll be visiting and when you'll return) with a trusted friend or family member back home and try to check in with him or her every day. That way, if something happens, they can alert authorities on your behalf.

Away

No matter where you are heading, rest assured that Columbia Bank is vigilant in monitoring for fraud or suspicious activity on your accounts. You'll be notified by an automated fraud alert if anything suspicious is detected with your debit or credit card activity. Still, you can never be too careful when it comes to your information security. Follow these quick tips while you're away to keep your information safe and secure.

  • Don't flash your cash or valuables: Keep your cash separated with some spending money easily accessible and the rest hidden so that you're not showing off a big wad of cash every time you pay.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi networks: The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team recommends you avoid using open Wi-Fi networks to conduct personal business, banking or shopping online. Open Wi-Fi networks at places such as airports, coffee shops and other public locations present an opportunity for attackers to intercept sensitive information. They also caution to avoid connecting your mobile device to any computer or charging station that you do not control, such as a charging station at an airport terminal or a shared computer at a library.
  • Keep your devices on lock down: Many times, thieves target travelers and physical theft of devices can lead to unwanted exposure of personal information and more. Keep your devices on hand and use tracking and multifactor authentication options when available. Smart travel products like anti-theft backpacks can help protect your information by adding an additional layer of safety when traveling.
  • For more safety tips from the Department of Homeland Security, visit their website.

Actions to Take if Your Accounts are Compromised

When your credit card number and account information are compromised and used by an unauthorized individual, you have experienced credit card fraud. The best weapon against card fraud is to be educated about the warning signs and best practices in card fraud prevention. If you think your credit or debit card has been compromised, contact your bank at once. For more information check out our fraud prevention resources page of ColumbiaBank.com.

We hope these smart travel tips help you relax on your next getaway knowing that your vital information is safe and secure, both home and away.

 

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