Monthly Archives: April 2016

Prevent Identity Theft on Vacation

While you’re on vacation, identity thieves are hard at work. They wait for you to let your guard down and before you realize it, your wallet has been stolen or your email account hacked and your personal information has been compromised.

Identity theft on the road is more common than you think. A recent study by ProtectMyID, the identity theft protection unit of credit bureau Experian, found that 20 percent of consumers have had a driver’s license, passport, credit card or other document with personal information lost or stolen while traveling. Nearly 40 percent have had their identity stolen as a result—or know of someone who was similarly victimized

Thieves strike when you least expect it, according to the ProtectMyID study. While 19 percent of travelers feel most vulnerable in restaurants—and rightly so, since 18 percent of crimes occur when people are dining out—most identity theft crimes actually occur in hotels (24 percent).
Here’s how to make sure thieves don’t ruin your vacation.

Cull your credit cards

You probably spend a lot of time trying to lighten your luggage load. Take equal care with what’s in your wallet. According to the ProtectMyID survey, 47 percent of travelers do not remove unnecessary credit cards from their wallet before leaving for a trip. Even worse, 25 percent travel with their Social Security cards.

Our advice: Bring only the essentials, including a limited number of credit and debit cards. You may also want to set up a travel alert for your credit card accounts, especially if you will be traveling internationally. Leave your Social Security card at home. That way, if your wallet is lost or stolen, thieves won’t have all of your personal information.

Beware of Wi-Fi hotspots

You may feel secure in the privacy of your hotel room but hackers can infiltrate hotel Wi-Fi networks to steal guests’ passwords and other sensitive information. A typical scam: When you log into the hotel’s network, a pop-up for a software update appears. But if you click to accept the download, you unknowingly load software designed to damage your computer or steal your information.

Our advice: Use encrypted networks or a virtual private network (VPN) to access personal accounts through public Wi-Fi networks. A VPN encrypts all of the information that passes between you and a wireless network, wherever that network is located. You can download VPN software from a VPN provider or bring your own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

Avoid public computers

The public computer in a hotel, hostel or Internet cafe may be convenient if you’re traveling without your laptop, but using one leaves you vulnerable—big time. That’s because you have no idea what has been installed in the computer. Risks include key-logging software that remembers your username and password, out-of-date security updates, and insufficient anti-virus software.

Our advice: If you must use a public computer, use it only for innocuous purposes, such as researching restaurant options or museum opening times. Do not check your online bank account or enter any personal financial information. Even checking your email or posting to Facebook can be risky, so make sure to reset your password from a secure device as soon as possible.

Choose your ATMs carefully

The convenience of getting cash often outweighs caution and that’s exactly what identity thieves count on.Crooks plant skimmers in ATMs and in a matter of seconds can steal your PIN and the account data stored on your card’s magnetic stripe.

Our advice: Go to ATMs that are monitored by video cameras or security guards, such as those in bank lobbies. Avoid unattended ATMs in public locations like airports, shopping malls or convenience stores.

Pick what you post

That brag-shot of you bungee-jumping off a bridge in New Zealand not only tells the world about your daredevil deeds—it also informs crooks that you’re not home. Thieves troll Facebook, MySpace, Instagram and other social networking sites to see when people are on vacation and possibly target their home for a break-in.

Our advice: Take the shot, by all means. But don’t post it until you’re back home.

“Vacations give people the perfect chance to stop thinking about everyday life, but that’s something identity thieves count on” to make it easier to snatch your stuff, says Guy Abramo, president, Experian Consumer Services. “By taking some precautions before, during and after vacation, people can reduce the risk of identity theft happening to them.”

“prevent Identity Theft on Vacation by Catherine Fredman  July 07, 2015, 3.43 pm

Evisions and Ellucian Live Conference

April 17th, UITS’s Rick Tew, Valerie Alexander-Spicer, and Nicholas Dick packed their bags and headed all the way to Denver, Colorado for the Evisions and Ellucian Live conferences. 

From left to right: Rick, Valerie, Nick
From Left to Right: Rick, Valerie, Nicholas

The Evisions Conference took place at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Denver. It was a full-day conference packed with sessions that provided learning and networking opportunities with peer institutions using Evisions products. CSU utilizes the Evisions Argos reporting tool.


Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson

The Ellucian Live conference brings together colleagues of the colleges/universities using the Banner Student System. The Banner Student Information System is a database of student records and information. The system is divided into several modules: Admissions, Registration, Billing/Accounts Receivable, Financial Aid, and Graduate Student Data.

At the conference, vendors introduced their software and services. Literally hundreds of sessions to choose from provided opportunities to learn and network for our UITS colleagues!  The opening general session was kicked off by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who’s foundation is committed to helping transform underserved communities, with education as a priority focus.

Service  • Support  • Success

Bluetooth: Secure Your Information

Cell phone viruses first appeared in 2004 and have grown larger as technology and time have advanced. Mobile viruses are similar to a virus you would receive on a computer. However, not only are these viruses received through email or specific downloads from the internet, mobile viruses can enter your device through text and media messages and Bluetooth transfers. Because this type of technology is convenient and oftentimes left on, it is easy for these unwanted bugs to enter and infect your phone. There are several guidelines to follow to protect your phone and keep your personal information safe.

Remembering to turn off your Bluetooth is one of the best defenses you can take against mobile viruses. This wireless technology gives your phone access to all devices that have this capability and also gives them access to you. By turning off your Bluetooth, you eliminate the possibility for any attackers to enter your phone and browse any personal information, such as photos, texts or contacts that you may have stored on your cellular device.

If you receive a file sent to you through Bluetooth capabilities, you should not accept it. It is possible the file contains a virus and that virus was spread by another device. When the owner of the other phone accepted the file, through the wireless capability, they were able to send it, find your device and enter your phone. If you open the file, it will continue to spread. When receiving files through your cell phone, you should take the same precautions you would with files received onto your computer. If the file is unknown or suspicious, do not open or mess with the program. It’s wise to be cautious with any files you receive, especially through text and media messages. You should also be aware that even clean files you receive on your mobile can cost you money to open – so proceed with caution.

One of the safest ways to prevent viruses from spreading onto your smartphone is to install Antivirus software onto you cell phone. This software is available through manufactures or applications available in smartphone app markets. The software is designed to detect any virus that may have entered your phone. Many software programs regularly scan the device searching for viruses. They also allow you to create lists of numbers that may be suspicious and may contain harmful bugs.

Because cellular devices are portable and compact, they are easily left or lost. Oftentimes, it is easy for thieves to track down the device and obtain any personal information you may have on the phone. This software not only eliminates the dangers that come from viruses, but also allows you to lock your phone or clear all information by accessing your device’s interface from a remote location.

While mobile devices are increasingly necessary tools for communicating and sharing information, it’s important to take precautions with them. If you are careful with the messages and media you send and receive, you can protect your information and keep your phone free from viruses.

[1] “Bluetooth: Secure Your Information” by Courtnie Packer February 22, 2011