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Following a whirlwind year of travel in 2023, 40% of Americans are gearing up for even more adventures in 2024. As the warmth of summer approaches and travel plans start to take shape, it’s crucial to prepare for often overlooked risks that may come up while traveling. The mix of unfamiliar surroundings, increased distraction, and reliance on public Wi-Fi creates an ideal environment for malicious actors to exploit. From impersonation tricks to oversharing on social media, attackers have plenty of ways to target unsuspecting travelers. 

What are the most common scams you should watch out for, and how can you stay safe from them? 

Impersonation Scams: Beware of Who You Trust  

One of the most common social engineering threats while traveling is impersonation scams. Attackers may pose as hotel staff, tour guides, or even fellow travelers to gain access to personal information or valuable belongings. Always verify the identity of individuals before sharing any sensitive information or handing over personal belongings. If someone claims to be an employee of a hotel or a service provider, don’t hesitate to ask for official identification or contact the establishment directly to confirm their identity. 

Public Wi-Fi Risks: Proceed with Caution  

Public Wi-Fi networks are a convenient way to stay connected while traveling, but they also pose significant security risks. Hackers can easily intercept data transmitted over these networks, including login credentials, credit card information, and personal messages. Avoid accessing sensitive accounts or conducting financial transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection and protect your data from prying eyes. 

Oversharing on Social Media: Think Before You Post  

Sharing vacation photos and updates on social media may seem harmless, but it can inadvertently put you at risk. Posting your location in real time or sharing details about your travel itinerary can make you a target for thieves and cybercriminals. Avoid oversharing on social media, especially when it comes to your whereabouts, and consider waiting to post travel updates until you are home.  

Take a deep dive into your privacy settings to ensure that bad actors can’t access your personal information through your social media accounts. Our Social Privacy Manager can do that work for you, automatically adjusting more than 100 privacy settings across all the accounts you choose. 

Phishing Emails and Texts: Stay Vigilant  

Phishing emails and texts are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to trick travelers into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware onto their devices. Be wary of unsolicited messages claiming to be from airlines, hotels, or financial institutions, especially if they ask for personal information or prompt you to click on suspicious links. Verify the legitimacy of any unexpected communications by contacting the sender directly using official contact information obtained from their official website or a trusted source. 

 Protecting Your Personal Information: Practical Tips and Strategies  

In addition to being aware of the risks, there are proactive steps you can take to protect your personal information before traveling: 

Enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts to add an extra layer of security. 
Use strong, unique passwords for each of your online accounts and consider using a password manager to keep track of them securely.  
Keep your devices up to date with the latest software updates and security patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.  
Be cautious when using ATMs and credit card terminals and cover your PIN when entering it to prevent shoulder surfing 
Monitor your financial accounts regularly for any suspicious activity and report any unauthorized transactions immediately. 

By staying informed and vigilant, you can minimize the risk of falling victim to scams while traveling and enjoy a worry-free vacation experience. Remember to trust your instincts and err on the side of caution when encountering unfamiliar situations or individuals.  

Having a complete set of online protection software is like having a team of cyber guardians watching over you on vacation. With the right precautions in place, you can focus on making memories and exploring new destinations without compromising your personal information or security. Safe travels! 

The post How to Stay Safe Against Scams While Traveling appeared first on McAfee Blog.

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