In the summer of 1982 I was 15 years old and lucky enough to be traveling around Europe with my family. We spent a few nights in Rome and I was in awe at the sights and sounds, the unfamiliar scents and the beautiful people who always seemed to be wearing their finest clothes.
We had just been to visit the Colosseum but because it was undergoing repairs at the time we did not get to see the inside. I was satisfied, however at just being lucky enough to gaze upon this amazing structure from the outside.
As we strolled back to our hotel room a young teenage girl came quickly alongside my Grandmother and put a piece of cardboard over the top of her purse. She began talking very quickly and I noticed a look of concern come over Grandma’s face. The cardboard had writing on it and my initial though was that she was trying to sell her something.
It turned out that this girl was a pickpocket. The Cardboard was there to hide her hand slipping into the purse to take what she could. Luckily she got away with nothing.
Pick pocketing hasn’t stopped in the digital age
That was my first lesson of what can happen to you when you travel and it was quite the eye opener for this 15 year old girl. The only things we had to worry about when traveling in those days were arriving safely, knowing which way to look before crossing the road, depending on which country you were in and making sure your personal belonging were secure.
You certainly don’t want to find yourself in a foreign country without your passport and all of your money and credit cards gone.
Fast forward to these fast paced times we live in now. The Digital age where a large section of the human race have their eyes glued to whatever electronic gadget they have in their hands.
These smart phones, tablets, laptop computers have made the world a smaller place. Sites like Google have made it possible to see the world without actually leaving your house.
Before you travel with your electronics think for a moment about what important information there is about you on your computer or cell phone and how often you access it on an unsecure network.
People do it everyday without giving it a second thought. Whether you are in your own neighborhood at your local coffee shop or you are sitting in an idyllic café in Paris, the chances are pretty good that you can find an unsecured network that will allow you to connect and update your Facebook status, login and send an email to family and friends back home or even worse check your bank balance.
All your personal info is now online
A cyber thief now has all the information they would ever need to know about you. They have access to your credit cards and when you need to pay for something and your card is declined, it is a very scary situation you find yourself in.
Did you know there are “underground” private websites out there where people’s stolen credit card information is sold to other thieves who then go on spending sprees?
Digital crime is the fastest growing crime in the world and it is up to you to protect yourself.
Not everything is a lost cause, though!
Make sure you regularly backup your data on all of your devices. Make sure you have a very secure password that includes upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure you are connecting to a secure and trusted network.
To make sure my data is protected I use HotSpot Shield. It protects my devices from prying eyes and from people who make a living by stealing from others. It gives you the option of setting your own “virtual” location which can be very important for people who travel or if you are spending the evening catching up on your favorite British shows “real time”.
Hotspot Shield Ambassador