Five Ways to Protect Your Identity on Staycation
All I ever wanted
Had to get away
Remember those lyrics from that Go-Go’s song?
Who doesn’t dream of their next vacation? Except when you can’t get away because of life’s many realities.
I live in Phoenix, Arizona where the hot summers drive tourists away and create a staycation playground for us locals. We get access to top-tier resorts for a fraction of the high-season rates, creating the biggest stay-cation opportunity of the year. Who cares about the triple-digit temps when I can float down man-made lazy rivers, get body wraps and massages on the cheap, and chill out in a deluxe hotel room with the air conditioner cranked down to 68 degrees…just five miles from my house.
While staycationing in my hometown, I still have to keep in mind that my identity is at risk because that’s the world we live in today. The potential of identity theft happening to you on a staycation is about the same as a real vacation, and there are a few things you should do to protect yourself.
- Social Media Sharing Dos and Don’ts. I love sharing a good selfie at the pool; however, it’s not a good idea to tell the world (including potential burglars) that you’re away from home. You can still post from your staycation spot, just don’t include or tag the location or do a #latergram and wait until you get home to upload those posts. And if you suffer from social media FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), make sure you’ve set the privacy settings for your social media accounts to make your posts viewable only to your followers.
- Watch the Wi-Fi. Resorts often include Wi-Fi with your room rate which I and my cellular data plan appreciate when surfing news sites and dinner menus by the pool. However, public Wi-Fi poses some risks. I don’t use it to access my bank account or any sites that require a secure log in because public networks are vulnerable to hackers looking to steal passwords. The best defense is to use your own mobile hotspot or a virtual private network (VPN).
- No Credit Card Mambo. When I’m on staycation, I only use one credit card and I don’t allow it to change hands or go out of my site. Generally, the fewer people who handle your credit card, the better, because it reduces the risk of someone skimming your account information to use fraudulently. I prefer to let the front desk swipe my card once and charge all expenses to it. That way, my card only leaves my wallet one time. (International travelers: check out this post to learn credit card safety tips when abroad.)
- Lock It Up. Besides great toiletries, I really like hotel-room safes. Really it’s the thrill of punching in my own security code that I love. I always use a hotel safe to store my wallet, extra cash, phone and what not. It’s a no brainer.
- Nosey House Sitters. My family has six pets so when away, our pet/house sitter Maria stays overnight to make sure the kids are okay. We love Maria and truly doubt that she has ever snooped around house. Still, I was surprised to learn that 41 percent of Americans admitted to having looked through someone’s personal items when visiting their home, according to a recent LifeLock survey. If you’re not fortunate to have a trusted, go-to person for house sitting, be sure to put away your personal documents and valuables before allowing a stranger or acquaintance inside.
There’s only two months officially left in this summer, and I’ve got my staycation planned at one of my favorite resorts. Whichever type of vacation you’re doing this year, I hope these tips help you make it fun, safe and memorable for all the right reasons.
Symantec Corporation, the world’s leading cyber security company, allows organizations, governments, and people to secure their most important data wherever it lives. More than 50 million people and families rely on Symantec’s Norton and LifeLock comprehensive digital safety platform to help protect their personal information, devices, home networks, and identities.