Keeping your accounts and data safe while on a trip requires both proactive precautions as well as ongoing vigilance throughout the trip. Considerations in both these realms include deciding what platforms you will be sharing information on and securing those platforms. It will also be important to fully understand how these platforms operate.
Social media is accessible to virtually anyone and, therefore, it can be used by bad actors to track your movements and activities. As such, it is not advisable to widely share on social media where you intend to be and when you intend to be there. In addition to individual activities, it is not a good idea to let your wider social media audience know when you are leaving for a trip and when you are intending to be back.
If many people know when you are going to be at certain places, they could use the opportunity to follow you or keep tabs on you. Additionally, if people know when you are going to be away from home, they could use the opportunity to stake out your home or even find a way to enter your home undetected. When you are traveling, in general, you are typically more susceptible to scams due to a variety of factors such as uncertainty of local norms, increased stress and urgency and greater use of public services and areas.
Check location settings
Typically, it is best to disable location-reporting settings on social media apps and avoid checking in at specific locations. You will often be able to toggle automatic location reporting using settings on various social media apps. Beyond that, many options that allow you to “check in” require you to manually input the location, so it is best to avoid doing so. As previously mentioned, letting people know where you are going to be and when you are going to be there could allow bad actors to track your movements more easily.
Don’t tag photos
Another way of inadvertently notifying potential bad actors that you are away on a vacation is through tagging or being tagged in photos. In addition to not tagging your own photos, it is best to configure your social media settings to require a review of all photo tags. You can also ask friends and family not to tag you in photos, but it is best not to entirely rely on this method as it isn’t foolproof. Reviewing all tags is simply an additional precaution that can further reduce the chances that these tags will become public.
Don’t post identifying photos
It is important to keep photos related to identifying documents private. Try not to use them as social media content. By posting photos of passports, plane or train tickets, official identification or other travel documents, you could inadvertently give bad actors the ability to impersonate you through various channels.
Government-issued photos are often used to confirm access to various accounts and services and, therefore, such photos can be used to gain access to sensitive information or illegally utilize services. This can be particularly easy for cyber criminals if there are options to confirm identity digitally, as a human will not need to compare their own face to the offered, stolen identification.
As a result of such interference, you could find your accounts drained, be otherwise defrauded or accidentally abet illegal activities. For similar reasons, it is important to not share any other information from your identifying documentation or travel documents either.