(BPT) - School is out, and it's time to start looking forward to your family's summer travel plans. As you make your packing lists and research the sites and activities for your destinations, don't forget to review digital safety rules.
According to the Better Business Bureau, between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the busiest time for domestic travel in the U.S., which coincides with an uptick in travel scams during the summer months. The bureau reports that from May to July 2021, consumers reported losing nearly $350,000 to travel scams, representing 33.5% of all money lost to travel scams last year.
'The digital world is filled with sophisticated security threats,' said Kelly Merryman, president and chief operating officer of Aura, an all-in-one intelligent digital safety platform for consumers. 'When planning trips, think about how you can protect yourself online from these very real risks.'
As you prepare for your summer vacation, check out these five tips to avoid security risks and keep you and your family safe.
1. Use a VPN when connecting to public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is great for staying connected on the go, but it also allows bad actors the opportunity to place malware on your device and access your identity and finances. Be proactive and use a virtual private network (VPN) when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
If you don't have a VPN already, consider trying Aura's all-in-one digital security solution to protect you and your family online wherever you go. With just one tap on the company's app, you can activate the VPN, which encrypts your internet traffic to protect your sensitive information on unsecured networks.
2. Store your important documents digitally
While it might be reassuring to carry physical copies of your important documents like your passports and vaccine cards, you're leaving yourself and your kids vulnerable to identity theft. During vacation, it's easy to get distracted and leave your backpack or purse behind as you move on to your next adventure.
Instead of carrying paper copies, store copies of your important documents online digitally in a secure app. Since you'll likely be accessing these documents on your phone, make sure your phone is locked with a complex password.
3. Don't overshare your vacation details on social media
It's fun to share your fun moments and fond memories of your vacation with friends and family, but what you share on social media may make you vulnerable to cyberattacks and even physical ones. For example, sharing where you're planning to travel or announcing your location while on vacation creates opportunities for someone to find you or break into your home while you're away.
Be mindful of what you share and teach your children to be selective about the information they put on social media at home and when they vacation.
4. Book travel on trusted websites
There are plenty of travel scams on the internet. As you look for flights, rental cars and accommodations, do so through a legitimate, trusted site. Remember, you're entering sensitive information about your family's identities and financial information.
An easy way to make sure the website you're shopping on is secure is to check the URL. If the link says "HTTPS" instead of "HTTP," you're good to go. The "S" in the URL means the site is secure, so you can feel confident that your information is safe.
5. Use your credit cards during travel
When making purchases during your vacation, use your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit cards tend to offer more financial protection than debit cards, and if you spot a suspicious purchase on your recent transactions or latest statement, you'll likely be able to get your money back.
To simplify your cybersecurity and maintain peace of mind while you travel, try Aura. With just one subscription, you and your family will have access to:
- A secure VPN to protect you on public Wi-Fi
- A smart network to help identify and flag scams like fraudulent travel websites
- Financial transaction monitoring that watches for unusual activity
- Identity theft protection in case you leave behind or have important documents stolen while traveling.
To learn more about this digital safety platform, visit Aura.com.