(BPT) - If you’re setting out on your next big travel adventure, security and safety might be the last thing on your mind. But every now and then, something is bound to go wrong when you’re far away from home. Scammers, fraudsters and thieves are known to take advantage of travelers distracted by taking in the sights, eating delicious foods and exploring new cities.
To help you reduce your risk of issues and make the most of your vacation, Visa offers the following tips for keeping yourself and your information safe and secure.
1. Secure your home before you leave
A home that looks vacant is the most promising for burglars. Be sure to lock all your windows and doors, but make it look like someone is still around by:
Keeping a light on that can be seen through your windows at night.
Holding your newspaper and mail. Piled-up papers is a sign that nobody’s home.
Telling a neighbor about your plans and asking them to keep an eye on your home.
2. Protect your personal information and data
Flights, hotels, food and more — there are so many transactions involved in traveling. And more transactions mean more opportunities for fraudsters to gain access to your sensitive data. A recent Visa poll found that over half (58%) of travelers reported they were concerned about the possibility of fraud on their credit or debit cards while traveling.
New breakthroughs in user protection and payment security help make your transactions more secure. Digital payment methods and solutions like virtual cards continue to make it easier and safer to do everything from purchasing plane tickets to splitting the check at dinner.
There are few things you can do to help keep your information safe:
Keep personal information to yourself.
Do not click on links in emails before verifying that they’ll take you where they say they will.
Turn on purchase alerts for your credit and debit cards to provide real-time notifications when purchases are made using your account.
Look up the actual phone number of your credit card company if you need to call — don’t call any phone numbers you see in a potential scam email or text.
3. Make copies of your passport
If you’re traveling abroad, make a few extra copies of your passport for safety. Leave one at home with a trusted family member or friend and take another copy with you — along with your actual passport. While you’re out and about on your trip, keep a paper copy with you while the real thing is securely stored in a hotel safe.
4. Blend in with the locals
The more you look like a tourist, the bigger target you are for criminals. Walk with confidence, even if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. If you need to look up directions, step into a shop or café instead of staring at your phone out on the street. Even better, plan your day ahead of time and look up your directions before leaving your hotel for the day. Make an effort to visit local small businesses while on your trip to truly take in the culture like a local.
5. Beware of public Wi-Fi
Although convenient, public Wi-Fi networks can be a big safety hazard when it comes to your secure information. Joining a public network with your phone or computer opens your device to hackers. Instead, use a VPN service to create a secure connection when using the internet on an open connection.
Before you embark on your next trip, follow these tips to invest in your safety. Traveling with less risk and more confidence will be well worth your time and energy.