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Experts Offer Tips To Keep Credit Cards Secure During Peak Vacation Season

[Wednesday, July 18th, 2018]

When people are on vacation, they’re thinking about remembering their passports and phone chargers, getting to the airport on time, and where they’ll go out to dinner when they arrive. They don’t want to think about possible crime. But they leave themselves vulnerable to fraud and identity theft if they fail to take certain basic precautions, experts warn.

A Norton by Symantec survey showed that 73 percent of Americans don’t use a private network to protect their internet connection, and 92 percent risk exposing their personal information by using public Wi-Fi connections. Kevin Haley, the company’s director of security response, said travelers need to be “extra vigilant” about security during peak vacation season.

“In this connected world, it’s not enough to just lock up the house. It’s important to carefully protect everything from your identity and privacy to your data and devices while on vacation.”

Haley offers the following tips for travelers:

Beware of scams. If it looks too good to be true, it usually is. Use official websites to book reservations, whether for it’s for your hotel, airline, or car rental. Be sure you are on the company’s verified website and not an aggregator or mirror site. Call the company to verify if you’re not sure.

Don’t advertise your whereabouts. Update your privacy settings on social media so the whole world can’t see you posting vacation pictures that show you’re away from home. Don’t share specific dates and locations, and don’t post photos of itineraries or flight tickets. Avoid location-tagging photos, and consider waiting to post until you are safely at home.

Avoid public Wi-Fi. Use private connections to surf the web, and be careful about entering PINs, account numbers, credit card information, and other sensitive data on a strange computer or network.

Use a credit card, not a debit card. If someone gets ahold of your credit card and uses it to make fraudulent charges, you won’t be held responsible. But if someone gets your debit card, they can wipe out your entire bank balance, and it will take time to complete an investigation and the funds back. Also keep in mind that if you have a secured credit card, this does not mean it has any extra security; a secured credit card is one in which you’ve put down a deposit to act as collateral, which protects the financial institution in case of default.

If you follow these guidelines, you’re more likely to have a safe—and enjoyable—vacation.

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