Holidays are a time to wind down, but it is vital not to throw caution to the wind when it comes to online security. Wherever you are, your personal information is never safe. Your personal information is vulnerable if you book a flight through Booking.com or share your whereabouts on social media.
With advanced security systems, cybercriminals have also pushed their boundaries to rob you of your money. It has been said that cybercriminals are impersonating a genuine person or entity, for instance, a representative of an online travel website, to send you a malicious link to access your accounts as soon as you click it.
It is really hard to small the rat when you receive something suspicious, and therefore, you most likely lose your money. This blog discusses some cyber security travel tips.
How to protect yourself while booking a trip
Whether you are booking a flight, here are the tips to protect you from travel fraud experts:
- It is your first red flag if it seems urgent and you feel forced. Scammers try to play on emotions to make you feel that you must do it, and just as you click the link, the whole situation is turned against you.
- Remember that anything can be faked. It is likely that phishing emails do not have tell-tale signs. The email can be from a fraudster despite being addressed with your original name. In fact, nowadays identical web pages can be created to finagle you.
- Never click a link or download an attachment. Never trust if any email asks you for money.
- If there is a real reason to pay money, you should talk to the business directly at the phone number given on the official website, not by email. If you have received any message from a third-party servicing company, contact them to confirm if it is legitimate.
- Do not pay attention to online ads, as they can be malicious. Your money is just a click away from the access of cybercriminals. These online ads can be skulduggery to strip you of cash.
- While booking a flight or accommodation, you should use the official website. If that is not possible, choose a reputed third-party booking site, for instance, Booking.com. If you do not remember the exact address of a booking site, you should avoid clicking paid search results, such as sponsored ads, that show up at the top. You should rather click an organic search result.
- Look for reviews. Scammers can target you with hotels that do not exist at all. You should see if their websites exist. Since they can also be fake, you should try to check if they have reviews.
- It is always advisable not to use open public networks. Public Wi-Fi is the most common method to get your personal information. Use password-protected mobile internet.
- Consider hiring a travel agent. Though this will cost you additional money, it will keep you from the hassle. Not to mention, they know how to make genuine bookings. In case of a lack of money, you can take out bad credit loans with no guarantor and no broker.
How to protect yourself from social media scams
To your surprise, cybercriminals are also targeting travellers through social media posts. Fraudsters become smarter nowadays. They are setting up fake travel agencies and fulfilling their bookings with their stolen payment methods.
Scammers will even maintain their social media presence and run ads to attract customers. Seeing regular feeds, you will assume that the company is genuine, and you might want to use their services. Once you use their services, you will find that your money was not used for your booking, but it went into their pockets.
By the time you realise that you have been snitched, you will find that the website and social media accounts have been taken down, and their contact numbers no longer exist. Another drawback of using such scam websites and social media accounts is that your identity could be stolen, which lets you make unauthorised purchases.
Scammers are mainly targeting travellers with hotel bookings and plane tickets. Last-minute deals are the most common method to trick gullible people. Fraudsters are generally active during the peak season.
Update your operating system and strengthen your passwords
Before you go on a trip, you should operate the operating system of your mobile. This will help update all your apps, removing the risk of phishing threats. However, you do not need to update your operating software if your mobile automatically sends notifications and you complete the command.
Remove permissions from apps that you do not have to use there. If possible, put them to deep sleep in a zip folder. Not only will your RAM boost, but you will also be able to minimise the risk associated with app viruses, malware, etc.
Make sure that you change passwords of all apps, emails, etc, and they must be the strongest. Choose multiple characters. Do not mind noting them down if they are not easy to memorise, and do not set the same password for all apps across the board. You are more at risk of being the prey of cyber-attacks if you use the same passwords.
Do not believe that cybercriminals will make you their prey only when you are booking trips, hotels, flights and the like. They have so many methods to take you to the cleaners. If your device offers fingerprints or facial recognition, make sure you use this feature for the screen lock.
Even though the country where you are going is very safe, you are still at risk of losing your personal and financial information. Such advanced screen lock is recommended because most people use digital cards nowadays.
Chances are your pocket is picked in a crowded place. If so, this will prevent them from cleaning all your money from your bank accounts. In the meantime, you can put in a request for the closing of your accounts and block your cards.
Limit banking or sensitive transaction
When you are on a trip, you do not need to rely heavily on your cards. If they are stolen, your financial information can be compromised. If you are to use a credit card, choose a chip reader rather than swiping your card. They are deemed to be associated with less fraud risks. However, it does not mean they are entirely safe. Use some cash as well, and make sure you use it for most of your transactions.
The bottom line
The number of cases of online scams has lately increased. Although there has been an advanced security system, cybercriminals have also upgraded their skills to achieve their goals. Try to keep yourself alert all the time.
Just when you lower your guards, the next thing you see is your details have been compromised. Following the aforementioned tips can make your travel safe from cyber criminals.