After traveling for the last 5 years, we are no strangers to travel scams. They are literally everywhere you go as your traveling. From something as simple as being overcharged by a taxi to Kashlee being robbed at gunpoint, we have seen it all. Some of the scams are more obvious than others but there is one scam that tourists are falling for that they aren't even aware of.
The unsecured Wi-Fi connection is one of the fastest growing travel scams out there. You have just taken an amazing photo that is going to rack up some love on Instagram. You want to upload your photo and stories right away so you check for a Wi-Fi connection. JACKPOT, there is an open connection with no password needed. Looks legit so you open your Instagram and sit down with a coffee thinking how lucky you are to have a connection.
SOMEONE MIGHT BE WATCHING…
An Unsecured Wi-Fi connection is one of the fastest growing travel scams
The harmless Wi-Fi you may have connected to could have been set up by criminals trying to steal your information. Criminal enterprises are setting up free Wi-Fi connections at tourist hot spots which will allow them to see the data you're sending and receiving. Some websites do not use proper security encryption which can lead to your information and passwords being intercepted.
How to protect yourself on unsecured or public Wi-Fi
1. Know what network you are connecting to
Most coffee shops, hotels and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi. Instead of just connecting to one of the open networks, be sure it's the right one. For example if it's Starbucks, watch out for “evil twin networks”. The official network could be called “Starbucks Wi-Fi” but the hackers could have set up there own open Wi-Fi called “Starbucks Free Wi-Fi. To avoid connecting to an “evil twin” network, ask at the front counter or desk what the Wi-Fi network is called. Do not connect to Wi-Fi networks that you do not recognize or seem suspicious.
2. Don't access bank accounts or use your credit cards
If you want to shop online, a public or unsecured Wi-Fi network is NOT the place to do it. Do not enter your credit card details or access your bank accounts on public Wi-Fi. Many hotels are now switching to a private username and password for each guest to help protect user information.
3. Set up 2 factor authentication on all accounts
With the constant data breaches of major websites and hackers trying to steal your information, setting up two-factor authentication will help keep your account secure. This extra layer of security requires entering a code that has been texted to your phone in order to log in.
4. Use a VPN
A virtual private network VPN enables you to create a safe and secure connection over a public network. This makes it very difficult for hackers to view your browsing activity or steal your information. They will move on to an easier target. Since we started using Express VPN we haven't had any of our information compromised and have peace of mind while we're traveling.
Protecting your online information has never been more important as hackers continue to come up with elaborate methods of scamming tourists. By using the tips above you will make yourself a difficult target and still be able to connect to public networks safely.
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