Making your relocation as secure as possible
March 15, 2018
Identity theft, financial fraud, ransomware attacks. The list of emerging digital security threats that could cost you – quite literally – is growing every year.
Dealing with threats like these is always stressful. Dealing with them while in an unfamiliar place, having to migrate financial accounts and being without a personal internet connection makes things even more difficult.
So how do you minimize your exposure? Here are some ways to make sure you're as digitally secure as possible before, during and after your move.
Using credit and debit cards
Credit should be your primary method of payment, alongside cash, until you have a local account. Using credit cards means that thieves don't get access to the cash in your current account. Additionally, credit card companies generally offer more painless ways of reclaiming funds spent fraudulently.
In terms of physical risks, wireless theft of card details has recently made headlines as a particularly sinister digital threat. "Skimming" has even stimulated a cottage industry of Radio-frequency ID (RFID) blocking wallets that market themselves as more secure than traditional wallets. Despite this, there's little actual evidence that this type of crime is widespread.
Being mindful of public wi-fi
This is a general rule of thumb worth following wherever you are in the world. When overseas however, you're naturally not going to be as familiar with which hotspots are reputable, so extra vigilance is required.
Public wi-fi hotspots can be a source of numerous types of threat, from malware distribution to "sniffing" out your personal details. It is a good idea to turn off auto-connect to wi-fi on your smartphone, and other mobile devices.
Finally, when browsing over public wi-fi, be mindful of non-secure sites – which do not contain end-to-end encryption. These are recognized by the URL preface of "HTTP," while secure sites – with end-to-end encryption – are recognized by the preface "HTTPS." If you'd like to learn more about why HTTP connections are less secure, this article is a useful read.
Make sure your devices are as secure as possible
If your device is stolen, it potentially lays all your applications – including financial ones – open to the thief. If it is stolen while overseas, then this complicates things even more. That is why it's necessary to erect as many strong, digital barriers as possible.
Strong passwords are a must, using a combination of alphabetical, numerical, upper case, lower case and special characters. This makes approaches like "dictionary cracking" of passwords significantly harder for any attacker.
Where possible implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for applications on your device. Virtually all major web-services providers offer this now, including Google and Facebook. 2FA's main strength is that it draws from two separate authentication factors; both a password and a piece of information that only the owner has, such as a physical token. 2FA objectively makes your personal information orders of magnitude more secure.
Finally, location-detection can offer some assistance in the event of physical theft. However, understand it isn't the complete failsafe it seems at first glance. Police in various countries will not act on location-data obtained from apps, and many thieves are now aware of this technology and attempt to disable it entirely after the theft.
Avoiding counterfeit currency
Dealing with this threat depends on the country. Counterfeit cash fraudsters often rely on the relative ignorance of foreigners. As a result, be mindful of exchanging cash with taxi drivers. While it would obviously be an exaggeration to imply all taxi drivers are dishonest, it's a rare source of laundering in mainland China, among other countries.
Similarly, keep receipts of all foreign exchange transactions you make, as well as ATM receipts. This will allow you to lodge claims more easily, but it's still not a cast-iron guarantee you'll be refunded.
Crown's moving advisors help people relocate every day, across the world. Whether you want advice on how to set up a bank account as a foreign national in a new home, or simply want to make sure you are as digitally secure as possible prior to a move, we can help. Get in touch with us today to find out more.