Vacation is supposed to be the time to kick back and relax. Unfortunately, there is never a vacation from scammers who try to take advantage of travelers.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns about a couple of common and ongoing scams.
• A call from the hotel’s front desk telling you there is a problem with your credit card and asking you to read them the number over the phone could really be from a scammer. If the hotel really has an issue with your card, staff should ask you to come to the front desk.
• Be aware that a pizza-delivery flyer slipped under your hotel door could be from someone just trying to get your credit-card number. When you call to order, they get your information, and no pizza ever arrives. To be safe, get restaurant food-delivery recommendations from the front desk. Many hotels have lists of restaurants in the directory in your room.
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• Be careful when searching for the hotel’s Wi-Fi network. You could come across one with the hotel’s name that is really a scammer trying to access your information. Check with the hotel to make sure you are using the authorized network before you connect.
Some more Wi-Fi tips:
When using any public Wi-Fi network, check to see that it is fully encrypted so your personal information is kept secure online. Encryption scrambles the information you send over the Internet into a code so others cannot see it.
An encrypted website protects only the information sent to and from that site, the FTC says. A secure wireless network encrypts all the information you send using that network.
To determine whether a website is encrypted, look for “https” as the start of the Web address. The “s” stands for secure. Some websites use encryption only on the sign-in page, but if any part of your session is not encrypted, your entire account could be vulnerable.
Other tips to protect your information when using public Wi-Fi:
• Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. When you’re finished, log out.
• Do not use the same password on different websites.
• Consider changing the settings on your mobile device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to nearby Wi-Fi.
Keeping your home secure
AAA offers these tips:
• Arrange for the post office to hold on to your mail for the duration of your journey (30 days maximum).
• Piles of unclaimed newspapers can tip off would-be burglars that your home is vacant. Call to suspend delivery, or to have your newspapers donated to local schools.
• Valuables — Put them in a safe-deposit box or hide them in a safe location.
• Lights — Purchase an automatic timer so your home will appear occupied.