As the season of giving draws closer, people are putting together their shopping lists and making more purchases in stores and online with credit cards.
An NBCNEWS article says identity theft is more common during the holiday season as people are busy making purchases and running errands with less rest that they forget to focus on protecting their identity. People are more distracted and more vulnerable to scams.
Steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft include:
- Have security software installed on mobile devices and computers.
- Guard your social security number.
- Monitor your credit report, bank and credit card statements.
- Use a shredder on documents containing personal information before placing in the trash.
- Remove your name from marketing lists.
- Keep duplicate records on your wallet contents in a secure location.
- Know to whom you are speaking. Do not give personal information unless 100% certain you know the person and/or business they represent.
- Be aware of your surroundings when making credit card purchases and entering passwords and pins at atm’s and stores.
- Mail payments from a safe location. Private home mailboxes are not considered to be very secure.
- Destroy any electronic recording device prior to disposal.
- Be aware of bogus shipping emails as clicking on them could load malware on your machine or take you to a phishing website.
- Check out new merchants with the Better Business Bureau.
During this busy holiday season make sure to put your safety first…in this case, the safety of your finances and identity. If your credit cards or wallet have been stolen, contact the three reporting agencies below immediately.
Article by Crystal Schafer, Safety Director