<p></p> <p>Whether you're rushing through the airport trying to make your flight or dozing on the sofa in front of the football game at Grandma's house, you're going to be paying less attention to your digital security than you normally would.</p> <p>Scam artists and criminals are counting on that. We've already seen a rash of fraudulent-airline-ticket scams, but it's too late to guard against those.<span> </span>So here are six ways to protect your identity and your money over the busy holiday travel season. Click "next" in the above right to proceed.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Be careful when using airport or hotel Wi-Fi networks</strong>

<p></p> <p>Watch the Wi-Fi use when you're waiting for a plane flight or a taxi. If there's no password required when you access a hotspot, it could be a "honey trap" set up to lure in unsuspecting travelers. Criminals use these to <a alt="((CONLINK|1421|eavesdrop%20on%20your%20communications))" href="">eavesdrop on your communications</a> , and possibly hijack your online accounts.</p> <p>If you really need to get online, download a <a alt="((CONLINK|7387|free%20VPN%20service))" href="">free VPN service</a> to your laptop or smartphone and channel your Internet traffic through that.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Keep your electronics with you, or lock them in a safe</strong>

<p></p> <p>Don't leave your phone at a restaurant table when you get up to use the bathroom, even if you're dining with friends. Don't walk away from your laptop while you're sitting at the airport gate. And when you do get up to move to your next destination, check to make sure you have everything with you.</p> <p>Laptops and smartphones are treasure troves of personal data for identity thieves. Put <a alt="((CONLINK|6993|password%20locks))" href="">password locks</a> on both of them and if possible, enable remote-wipe applications in case either is lost or stolen. And if you're staying in a hotel, ask for a room with a safe you can put the laptop in.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Keep an eye on your credit cards</strong>

<p></p> <p>Credit-card thieves don't need to steal cards any more. They can just swipe them into illegal card readers called "<a alt="((CONLINK|7333|skimmers))" href="">skimmers</a> ," make duplicates and run up your account before you know anything's amiss.</p> <p>So when you're out shopping, eating or drinking, watch to see what the cashier does with the card. If you see him or her swipe it twice, ask for the manager.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Don't use your cellphone during flight</strong>

<p></p> <p>We know there's never been a documented case of a cellphone signal causing a plane crash. And we also feel pretty silly <a alt="((CONLINK|3492|turning%20off%20our%20devices))" href="">turning off our devices</a> , even the ones without wireless access, during takeoffs and landings.</p> <p>But still, there's evidence that <a alt="((CONLINK|2038|cellphone%20signals%20DO%20affect%20a%20plane's%20electronics))" href="">cellphone signals DO affect a plane's electronics</a> and navigation equipment. So smile, comply and keep it in "airplane mode" while you're in the air.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Avoid public-use computers</strong>

<p></p> <p>Many airports, hotels and cafes around the world have a couple of computer terminals in public areas that anyone can use, sometimes for a small fee. But just because you can use them doesn't mean you should, except maybe to check the status of your next flight.</p> <p>For all you know, the computers could be loaded with <a alt="((CONLINK|7089|keyloggers))" href="">keyloggers</a> and spyware, just waiting to snag passwords and other personal information. You wouldn't open your mail or spread out your money on the sidewalk in Times Square; consider public-use computers to be the digital equivalent.</p> <p></p>

<strong>Be a good digital guest</strong>

<p></p> <p>A gracious host will offer his or her houseguests the use of a home computer or <a alt="((CONLINK|6862|Wi-Fi%20network))" href="">Wi-Fi network</a> . And while there is no reason to decline such an offer, one must observe proper etiquette.</p> <p>If you use someone else's computer, either keep your Web browsing PG-rated or clear the browser cache and recent history after each session. If you're using your own device with your host's Wi-Fi, don't download anything huge, illegal or embarrassing. You don't want Granny to stumble across anything shocking or to be sued by the record industry.</p>

Six Safety Tips for Holiday Travelers