Holiday Travelers: Beware of Identity Theft Risk

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire/ — As the holiday season gets into full swing, thousands of travelers are heading to destinations far and wide. They’ll check in to hotels with such amenities as spa treatments, luxury bedding and high-speed Internet access.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, an increasing number of individuals take their laptops to stay connected, and they don’t give a second thought to using a hotel’s Internet access provider. Most assume that hotel Internet connections are safe.

According to iBAHN, a leading provider of secure high-speed Internet access to more than 2,200 hotels and 285,000 hotel rooms worldwide, this is a dangerous misconception. There are still thousands of hotels with poorly protected Internet connections. Moreover, many travelers are completely unaware how easy it is for a hacker sitting in a room just down the hall, or in a hotel lobby, to view personal information, credit card and bank account numbers stored on their computer’s hard drive.

Data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) indicates that 27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years. It is estimated that this year, more than 10 million Americans will lose an average of $5,000 from identity theft.

iBAHN is offering the following tips for travelers who want to avoid the dangers of using computers on the road:

* When making a reservation, check whether the hotel uses a secure
Internet provider. (Visit http://www.ibahn.com/ for a list of hotels
that offer secure connections.)
* Disable the file-sharing option on your computer to prevent hackers
from accessing your hard drive.
* Disable the peer-to-peer or ad hoc capabilities on your computer.
* Install, update and use a personal firewall.
* Watch your use of WiFi. Don’t use WiFi in “hot spots” such as
airports, hotel lobbies and other public places, unless it’s protected
by WPA encryption. (Your computer will indicate whether this is the
case when you attempt to logon.)

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