Tom Kocanda is a security and compliance education consultant at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). In his role, he helps employees learn how to stay safe online. 

Along with the warmer weather comes school break and, of course, the much-anticipated summer getaway. Whether you are taking a road trip somewhere nearby or flying to a far-off exotic escape, there are a few things you can do to help stay cyber secure this summer. 

Plan your trip securely 

New travel websites seem to pop-up daily—some of them offering deals that may be too good to be true. Keep in mind that a travel website’s reputation is built on how well they have been able to support customers in the past, and if the website just appeared last week, you have less assurance that they are able to appropriately handle customer concerns or cybersecurity risks. So, while we all want to support new businesses, with a purchase like travel fare or accommodations, it’s best to stick with the websites you know, and that have a track record for security and customer service.  

Pay with your device 

Nothing ruins vacation faster than a lost or stolen credit or debit card. And even if your card never leaves your sight, the risks associated with using your card in unfamiliar places are increasing as cybercriminals get craftier. 

Consider using your mobile device’s secure payment service, sometimes called a Digital Wallet, instead of your physical credit or debit card. These services (including Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay) don’t share your actual card number with the merchant; instead they provide an encrypted code that a cybercriminal can’t do anything with if they happened to get their hands on it. 

If you do need to use a physical credit or debit card, use the card reader’s tap payment option rather than swiping or inserting your card. 

Share with care 

Posting vacation pictures online is a great way to share the memories  you are making. There is even a term for this: “Instabragging.” As exciting as this sharing may be, consider waiting until you return from your trip to post pictures or details. Posting pictures while still on vacation advertises to criminals that your house is empty and vulnerable.  

This may sound like a stretch, but even the National Insurance Crime Bureau has said that sharing vacation pictures online while you are still away could violate your homeowner policy’s “reasonable care” clause, which holds homeowners accountable for ensuring their home is burglar-resistant and secure. Don’t risk it. Have a vacation Picture Post Party when you get back. 

Know your health coverage 

In addition to the nation-wide network of health care providers available with most BCBSNE health plans, other features of your coverage may become important during your vacation. GeoBlue, for example, provides you with access to vetted English-speaking doctors in over 190 countries, as well as concierge support while you are abroad. Check your benefits online or contact our Member Services team at the phone number on the back of your BCBSNE ID card for more information on GeoBlue, or to ensure it is already part of your health plan. 

For more articles like this, visit Team Blue