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Going for the gold in identity protection: Ensuring data security when attending major events

All eyes are currently on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Whether you’re lucky enough to experience the events in person or cheering from the comfort of your home, this is an opportune time to think about how to protect your personal information while in large crowds or public spaces, which are some of the most popular areas for identity thieves to exploit. It’s also a good time to consider the risks specifically facing travelers; of the 15 million Americans impacted by identity theft in 2016, 33 percent of this fraud took place when people were traveling.

One of the biggest challenges at major public events like the Olympics is that attendees encounter risks frequently without even knowing it. To stay protected, here are four precautions to help keep you from losing valuable documents or unknowingly giving access to your personal information:

  • Avoid using ATMs in highly trafficked, unfamiliar locations. With so many people around you, it can be difficult to keep your PIN number protected and out of sight.
  • Keep your credit cards and all forms of ID in either a money belt, an RFID-blocking wallet or a document protector to foil pickpockets or other thieves with fast hands.
  • Be wary of using shared or unsecured internet connections. Major events like the Olympics often create free public Wi-Fi networks at their biggest venues. Attendees should resist the urge to connect to public networks as they can pose increased cyberthreats. Consider purchasing a portable router to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot while traveling.
  • Before you leave, consider deleting sensitive apps containing financial information or those which allow you to access your home, car or other connected devices. Keep your mobile phone on you at all times and consider limiting how often you take your phone out. Most cell phones host a wealth of personal information, so it’s best to be overly cautious in the unfortunate event that your phone is lost or stolen.
  • Resist the temptation to share your location or agenda while away from home. By sharing these details, you’re alerting potential criminals to your whereabouts, making it easier for them to commit a crime. Wait to post on social media until you have returned from your trip.

With the above precautions, you can experience the energy in the crowd and the excitement of the event, knowing you’ve taken the necessary steps to help keep your information secure.