FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
July 9, 2019

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Travel Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. This week: building a digital defense against travel troubles.

Last week we talked about how to avoid travel scams when planning your summer vacation. Now that you have booked your trip and packed your bags—you are in the clear, right? Unfortunately, that is what scammers want us to think.

While vacationing, we often connect to public Wi-Fi, post pictures on social media, use our credit card, and carry around our passport. These things often put us at a higher risk of identity theft. Luckily, our friends at the Federal Trade Commission have tips on how to avoid scams and maintain our security while we enjoy our summer vacation.

  • These days, many airports, restaurants, and hotels offer “free Wi-Fi.” Don’t assume that a free Wi-Fi hotspot is secure. In fact, hackers can often access your personal information through these wireless hotspots. If you must use one, avoid sending personal information, logging into bank accounts, or doing any online shopping when using free Wi-Fi.
  • If you do need to surf the web after surfing the waves, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN allows you to securely connect to the Internet by creating an encrypted connection between your device and the VPN provider’s network.
  • Keep your phone other device’s software up to date to ensure you are protected against the latest threats. You can set your device to update its software automatically.
  • Before traveling, check the location services in your phone’s settings. Many apps have a default setting that will tag your location when you post pictures or comments. If you do not want to share where you are, turn off location services on both your phone and in the individual apps.
  • Act quickly if information—such as a credit card, passport, or driver’s license—gets stolen or lost. When traveling, always bring photo copies of your passport and driver’s license in case of emergencies.

If you have been a victim of an online scam, report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complain Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.