July 9, 2022

By Burton Kelso
The Technology Expert

Summer road trip season officially started on Memorial Day weekend, but you are bound to take a trip throughout the summer months for family vacations, college visits, weddings, and, romantic getaways.

Vacations can be fun, but traveling can put you and your family at risk for identity theft and credit card scams. Fortunately, in our digital age, your smartphone can play a big role in helping protect you from the dangers of cybercrime when you travel. Want to keep you and your family safe? Check out these quick and easy tips to keep you out of the crosshairs of criminals.

  1. Pay for everything with your smartphone. Apple pay and Samsung Pay are two of the most secure ways to make payments. For the gas pump, you can avoid credit card skimmers designed to steal your credit card information. For shopping, your information is encrypted meaning criminals won’t be able to wirelessly steal your card information. If you don’t have Apple Pay or Samsung Pay, your debit/credit card should allow you to tap to pay at most major retailers. Use it and stay safe.
  2. Use the hotel app to unlock your room. If you’re staying at a major hotel this summer, download their app and enable the feature that will let you store your room key on your phone. Room keys are easy to lose and steal. If a criminal steals your card and knows your room number, you are in trouble. Room keys stored on your phone are safer. One less thing to worry about.
  3. Use a Wifi hot spot rather than that free wireless network. Not all free wireless networks are bad, but when traveling you never want to take a chance that that free wifi is actually a criminal’s computer collecting your data. If at all possible, use a wifi hotspot for the Internet when traveling as it allows a secure connection that criminals won’t be able to spy on.
  4. If you HAVE to use free wifi, download a VPN. Your cellular signal won’t be available everywhere you travel and sometimes getting Internet is a must. A VPN or virtual private network creates a secure tunnel for your data when you’re on public wireless networks which means the bad guys can’t see what you’re doing.
  5. No public computers. Public computers pose no threat, but what if you forget to log out of your secure accounts. It means the next person who uses it has access to your sensitive data.
  6. Emergency apps and Road Assistance apps are a must. Emergency apps keep you alerted to the weather in your area. Mishaps occur on the road, so you need to be able to contact someone if you’re stranded.
  7. Turn on Find My Device to Keep Track of Your Devices. Find my device is available for every device out there which helps to keep your devices out of the hands of criminals. Lose your computer or smartphone while traveling, use another one of your devices to track down those lost items. GPS technology means that you can find your device within 5 feet of the location of the device or the person who has stolen your device.
  8. Use AirTags and SmartTags to track Family Members. Yes, there has been a lot of negative press about AirTags and SmartTags being used to track victims by their abusers, but you can actually use this technology to track family members. Obviously keeping your eyes on family members is the best option, but if you can’t then a tag will let you find your loved ones quickly.

I hope you can use these tips to help you stay safe when you’re traveling. Sure there are real-world threats out there, but you need to make sure you’re safe from Internet threats as well. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

Want to ask me a tech question? Send it to burton@callintegralnow.com. If you prefer to connect with me on social media, you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I’ve read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and easy to use for everyone! If you need on-site or remote tech support for your Windows\Macintosh, computers, laptops, Android/Apple smartphone, tablets, printers, routers, smart home devices, and anything that connects to the Internet, please feel free to contact my team at Integral. My team of friendly tech experts are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us at www.callintegralnow.com or phone at 888.256.0829.