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updated 6/28/2011 1:48:23 PM ET 2011-06-28T17:48:23

If you can't resist the temptation to leave your laptop, tablets and other connected devices at home while hitting the road this summer, travelers should be warned that small mistakes such as entering personal and sensitive data onto unsecure Internet networks can significantly increase risk for identity theft.

Internet security firm Webroot has identified the top five mistakes travelers make during the summer vacation and what you can do to prevent them.

Not being cautious with Wi-Fi

It can be tempting to take advantage of free Wi-Fi access points in airports, hotels or in cafes, but Webroot suggests travelers resist the urge to use those connections to do anything other than browse for a map or train schedule.

“Unsecured wireless connections — such as the open ones that some businesses provide as a service —can leave you vulnerable to wireless snooping of your logins, email messages, or instant messages by other travelers or guests,” Webroot warns.

Not using automatic bill-pay

Being able to pay all your bills online from anywhere can be so convenient that you might forget that you’re doing so in a public place, but Webroot says you shouldn't be logging into your bank and cutting electronic checks for your utility bills while you're on the road.

"Most banks offer free automatic bill payment service," Webroot said. "Take advantage of them if they're available, so you don't miss a monthly charge."

Not backing it up

Laptops are no longer the only data-rich devices people lug around while traveling. A number of devices — including MP3 players, smartphones, portable hard drives and thumb drives — can act as a portable hard drive if connected to a computer.

"Don't wait until disaster strikes and you realize you've left your iPhone in a taxi in another state or worse, another country," Webroot said. "Back up everything, as if you might never see the device again, before you hit the road."

Posting vacation plans on Facebook

It may seem fun to brag about your upcoming trip to friends and acquaintances on social networks, but you should resist the temptation to call too much attention to the fact that you're leaving behind an empty, unattended apartment or house for weeks at a time.

"Burglars have already begun to turn to Facebook and Twitter to find homes that may be vacant during a holiday absence, so don't make their job any easier for them by giving them your travel itinerary,' Webroot said.

Not keeping devices close

Hotel rooms are not always as secure as many believe they are, and small, easily pocketed electronic devices go missing from rooms every day.

‘If you absolutely must bring along a laptop, plan on keeping the laptop with you at all times, or at the very least locking it in a room or in the hotel's safe if you don't want to get sand in the DVD drive," Webroot advised.

 

 

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