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Your trip abroad should be a wonderful experience, not a frightening one. Thieves thrive in tourist spots, and they’ll stop at nothing to rob you of your bank account, passport and credit card information — especially if you’re using your laptop or your smartphone. If you’re planning to travel abroad anytime soon, here are some tips to help you protect yourself from identity theft.
One of the worst things you can do is store your passwords online or in a computer document. If your laptop is stolen, the thief will have access to all your passwords. The best thing to do is memorize all your passwords, so there’s no written documentation of them while you’re traveling. If necessary, give your passwords to a trusted family member at home, so if you forget one, you can call and get it from that person.
Many people, especially those who use their laptops for business reasons, prefer to encrypt their sensitive files or even their entire hard drive. Once they’re encrypted, your files will be unreadable to everyone else, but you’ll always need your correct password to get into them. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re searched at airport customs and the security officers request your password, you’ll have to let them have it.
Make sure to set passwords on your smartphone so that if it’s stolen, no one will be able to use it to access your private information. Also, before you leave, delete your banking apps, social networking apps, and any other apps that contain private information. You can always reinstall them when you get back home.
This is important whether you travel or stay home, but it cannot be emphasized enough: It’s vital to make sure your files are backed up properly. This way, if your laptop is stolen (and it can happen in the blink of an eye), you won’t lose all your documents or personal, irreplaceable data.
Wherever you’re using your smartphone or laptop, always make sure you have a secure Internet connection. If it is unsecured, go somewhere else. Likewise, if you ever have to use a public terminal, delete your browsing history and cookies, and log out of all the sites you’ve visited.
With these simple tips, you can protect your identity and ensure your safety and privacy in all your travels.