With traveling to family, shopping for gifts, and buying decorations, it’s safe to say that your card spends just as much time out of your wallet as it does in it during the holidays. In fact, the National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday spending will rise 4.1% this holiday season. This statistic will not only be interesting to you, but also to those looking to steal your identity. With more spending, comes more opportunities for your identity to be stolen. Check out these ten tips to help prevent you from becoming a victim of identity theft during the holidays:
1. Use a Secure Site When Shopping Online
Whenever giving financial information over the internet make sure the URL has a picture of a padlock next to it and starts with https instead of http – the s stands for secured.
2. Pay with Cash or Credit
When using cash no personal information is exchanged and the next best thing in regards to protection is to use credit instead of debit.
3. Be Proactive
Copy both sides of your credit cards and keep them in a safe place at home. In case they are stolen, you will able to quickly contact the Credit Union and put a hold on your cards.
4. Keep Money and Credit Cards in a Safe Place
Yes, in this digital world people still pick-pocket. Make sure to keep your wallet or purse in a safe place when shopping in crowded malls or anywhere someone can accidentally bump you and snag your wallet, or even worse your identity.
5. Don't Leave Valuables in Your Car When Shopping
While you are thinking about what’s the perfect gift for your friend in the store, someone can be thinking about the perfect way to get into your car in the parking lot. Prevent the desire by keeping all valuable items and personal information in the trunk away from plain sight.
6. Be Leery of People Looking Over Your Shoulder
With the advances in technology for cell phones, that person that looks like they are texting their friend can also be snapping a picture of your credit card to use in their online endeavors. Always be aware of your surroundings and make sure to have your information and card out in the open as little as possible.
7. Be Sure Your Charitable Donations are Given to Legitimate Organizations
In the season of giving, make sure you are giving to who you think you are. Research the organizations before you donate, or when possible donate in cash so none of your personal information is tied to the transaction.
8. Never Shop Through E-Mail
Email is an easy unsecure way for hackers to intercept your personal information; most of the time they aren’t even the legitimate resource you think they are. For more information on Email Fraud, click here to read this article by our partners at BALANCE.
9. Check Your Statements Twice
Especially during the holiday season. With so many transactions, it’s very easy for something to slip through the cracks. Check your statements to be sure all of your purchases are accurate and nothing looks suspicious.
10. Write "Check Photo ID" on the Back of Your Credit Cards
This is just another measure to ensure no one will use your credit card in stores other than you. If a cashier checks your card against your photo ID, it just adds another layer of protection.
OE Federal is dedicated to the security and safety of our members. If you feel your identity has been compromised, click here to learn what to do.
If your debit/credit card is lost or stolen, contact the Credit Union immediately by calling: 800.877.4444 or 800.682.6075.
Keep yourself safe, keep your identity safe, and enjoy the holidays.
Happy Holidays from OE Federal.
Morad, Renee. (2014, Nov 26). Top 10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Identity Theft. http://www.lifelock.com/education/crimes/top-10-tips-to-avoid-holiday-identity-theft/