Human Resources

Social Media and ‘Bleisure’: More Tips for Traveling Workers

By Mike Kelly

In yesterday’s Advisor, Mike Kelly, CEO of On Call International, provided important things for employees to be aware of when traveling abroad. Today, Kelly elaborates on more tips that can help traveling employees avoid identity theft—or worse.

3. Social Media Statuses: It Can Wait

If employees share their locations on social media, they’re not only becoming a target in their host country, they’ve also revealed to everyone back home that their houses are empty.

Fraudsters are mining social media status updates, or worse, taking note of personal information such as birth dates, family names, and places of employment. Employers should remind travelers to be mindful of what’s shared on social media about their trips and to check their social media privacy settings. Additionally, if your employees have smartphones and leave the GPS location feature enabled, they should only share their locations with people they trust.

4. ‘Bleisure’ Travel Risks

“Bleisure”—the idea of combining work and personal vacations, often by adding vacation days to a work trip—is surging in popularity. In fact, a recent study revealed 67% of business travelers believe the option of extending their business trips into leisure travel is important to them.

If your company permits bleisure travel, it’s important to discuss the identity theft risks associated with this type of extended stay. For example, if employees are planning on staying at a different hotel, they should book directly though the hotel chain or through a valid third-party site to ensure they don’t fall victim to a thief stealing their payment information—a scam that’s becoming a growing problem. In fact, a recent survey from the American Hotel and Lodging Association found that 15 million hotel bookings were done on rogue websites last year with $1.3 billion going to these thieves.

Additionally, most companies provide company credit cards to traveling employees to cover their expenses while at their destinations, but what happens when employees extend their vacations? As they most likely can’t use the company card anymore, HR pros should address the safest forms of personal payment with employees for the leisure portion of their trips. Encourage traveling employees to lighten their wallets by only bringing necessary credit cards such as an ATM card and one or two traditional credit cards.

Falling victim to identity theft can be scary, time consuming, and expensive, but with some proactive planning, communication, and proper procedures in place, HR professionals can be confident their employees are better prepared for protecting not only their information but also the information of their organization.