Published: September 14, 2023
Trusted Blue Star partner and online safety company Aura would like to welcome you and your family to a new home and community.
As you settle into your new home and gear up for the new school year, those of you who recently PCS’d or are still in the process of doing so should review Aura’s top five tips for keeping your family safe from cybercrime and online theft during a move.
Whether losing important paperwork, using public or shared wifi networks at hotels and airports, or writing a Social Security or Military ID Number on paperwork, moving can put anyone at risk – not just military families. But as you likely already know from our work with Aura, veterans, active-duty service members and their families are targeted by scammers, identity thieves and cybercriminals significantly more often than civilians. That means moving is more risky for military families, too.
Just recently, the FTC issued an alert that payment solutions like Venmo or Zelle are being used by scammers to cash in on the convenience of these apps. Reports have suggested that military families are being specifically targeted, especially those moving. Whether paying a rental deposit, purchasing furniture via a community marketplace or otherwise, it’s critical to do your homework before sending money through a platform that offers very little protection to its users.
In addition to taking extra caution when using payment apps, the below steps will help secure everything you to online, and protect everything you care about offline.
- Set up secure home WiFi. Change the password from the manufacturer default to something long, complex and difficult to guess. Be cautious when using free public or shared WiFi networks, as they can be more easily hacked.
- Activate device protections. Make sure you have the latest malware, VPN and parental controls set up as you go into the new school year.
- Avoid smart device hacking. Update passwords and authorized users, watch out for logins from unauthorized locations.
- Shop securely. As you furnish your new home, watch out for fake websites or listings. Do not use payment apps like Venmo or Zelle unless you are sure it is not a scam.
- Organize and check paperwork. Check that none of your important paperwork containing sensitive personal information (health records, SSN, military IDs, etc.) went missing in the move and that all of your accounts have been notified of your new address.
- Set up mail forwarding. Before you move, set up mail forwarding to your new address, to ensure bank statements, pre-approved credit offers or any other personal information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Talk to your children about safe online behavior. Set a good example for them, especially as they are settling into a new school and may spend more time online.
- Consider using an all-in-one family online safety service like Aura, which helps you protect your family proactively with parental controls and safe gaming, safe browsing and financial fraud monitoring features. Get two weeks free and more than 60% off a family plan at plan at aura.com/military.
For more information on protecting your family’s online safety during a move, download Aura’s comprehensive guide to online safety during a PCS, as well as Aura’s checklist for before, after and during a move.