> Digital Safety Checklist for Summer - Per Stirling




Digital Safety Checklist for Summer

Summer is in full gear, here in Austin.  That also means getaways and family vacation season.  Many of you know I am a big proponent of these great opportunities to forget about day-to-day cares, to take time for yourself and connect with your family, and to finally rest and recharge.  However, don’t let scammers and identity thieves steal your peace of mind.

Consider the following digital safeguards for your next trip:

  • Data Backup:  Before your trip, save your important files to an external hard drive or to your cloud storage.  This will allow for an easier way to recover those files in case your device is lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN):  If you must use public Wi-Fi, use a VPN whenever possible to encrypt your data and protect your privacy online.  Just recently an Australian man was charged with trying to steal personal data from airports and domestic flights in his home country.
  • Credit Card Transaction Alerts:  Set up transaction alerts with your credit card company to be notified of suspicious activity, like high-value charges or international transactions.  You can also set up a dollar amount threshold, allowing for direct texts or emails above that amount.  If you use your card online, see if your company allows for a virtual number.  These are incredibly easy to change, if these numbers are compromised.
  • Stricter Privacy Settings:  Turn off location services on your device except when needed (i.e. navigation).  Choose strong privacy settings on social media platforms too, limiting your location sharing.  And, most importantly, consider waiting to post travel photos until you return home.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication:  Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all devices.  This requires a second verification step (fingerprint scan, code) to unlock your device.
  • Password Management:  Use a password manager to create strong, unique passwords for all your online accounts.  If one account is compromised, a unique password will ensure that not all accounts are compromised.

By following these simple tips, you can focus on making unforgettable memories instead of dealing with security concerns.  Wishing you a relaxing, secure, and enjoyable summer break!

Learn more about the author, Ronsey Chawla, MBA, CFP®.