5 Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft During the Holidays
With all of the extra shopping you do during the holiday season, it is more important than ever to make sure your identity and your money are protected. Identity thieves are on the prowl looking for ways to steal your account information, because during the holidays, people are distracted and aren’t paying close attention to their statements and account activities. Here are five tips to help you avoid identity theft during the holidays.
Be Careful When Shopping Online
When you are shopping online from your phone, tablet or computer, make sure you are double-checking that you are on a legitimate website or application. Thieves love to clone websites to steal credit card information. Before you check out and complete your purchase, make sure there is a lock symbol on the left side of the website address to confirm that it is a secure site.
Use Your Credit Card
When you use your debit card, the funds come directly from your account, meaning thieves have access to your entire bank accounts when they steal your identity. Credit cards offer more protection because credit card companies will offer users protection against fraudulent charges if reported within 90 days.
Don’t Shop Using Public Wi-Fi
Do not make purchases from your local coffee shop that offers free Wi-Fi. A thief can access the information passed through this Wi-Fi network, putting your account information at risk. It doesn’t matter if you are using your computer, phone or tablet, if you are on a public Wi-Fi network, your information is out there.
Beware of Skimmers
Skimming is one of the sneakiest and most effective ways thieves steal information. Skimmers are devices attached to card readers or ATMs and they copy your card information to replicate your card to make purchases. You should only bring one card with you while shopping so that if you misplace your wallet, you won’t lose all of your cards.
Be Careful Opening New Retail Credit Cards
A lot of people are tempted to open new credit card accounts around the holidays when they are making large purchases. The application process for these cards involves writing down personal information like social security numbers, address, etc. on a piece of paper. To protect your information from getting stolen, apply for these cards online on a secure site.