Safe Travel is Smart Travel: Cyber Vigilance

As flights and hotel bookings surge past pre-pandemic levels, travelers should prepare for a busy holiday season. Crowded airports can be an early holiday gift for identity thieves. Don’t let the chaos of the airport allow you to let your guard down. Gators, remember while traveling over the break period to:

Avoid public Wi-Fi. If you must use free Wi-Fi in airports, cafes, or in hotels, use a VPN to connect. Also, double-check the network’s name (SSID) before connecting. You could unknowingly connect to a spoofed network or someone else’s hotspot, which means what you type could be seen and copied by others.

Beware of vacation rental scams. While perusing Airbnb or Craigslist for a rental, be alert to an offer that’s too good to pass up. Before booking an accommodation online, research the address, owner’s name, and if the property reviews go back more than a few weeks. Check for multiple ways to contact the owner.

Disable auto-connect features. Most phones enable automatic connections for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and location services. These features allow others to track your location or send malicious files to your device. Keep these settings disabled when you are not using them!

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How To Shop Securely During Black Friday & Cyber Monday

‘Tis the season for online shopping. Unfortunately, it’s also the season for holiday scams. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals right around the corner, it’s important to know what to look for when shopping for the perfect gift. Here are some tips so you don’t get Scrooged:

Pay with a secure method. Using a credit card provides extra protection for online purchases. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), credit card holders are allowed to dispute fraudulent charges, whereas with a debit card, the money comes directly out of a checking account. Remember to check your bank statements regularly for any unauthorized payments.

Research the seller. Before checking out, verify that the business is legitimate. Search the company’s name online, plus “scam,” to read what others are saying. If you’re unsure, check with the state attorney general or the local consumer protection agency to see if there are any filed complaints.

Don’t fall for fake ads. Fake advertisements lurk on legitimate platforms, including email, social media, and search engines. Think twice before clicking on ads. Go directly to the business’s website to verify that the offer is real.

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