Prevent Identity Theft This Holiday Season
As we head into the holiday season, many consumers are shopping more, both in-store and online. Now is a prime time of year for identity theft. You may be busy searching for deals on that must-have Christmas gift, but thieves are searching for your information!
Follow these tips to secure your financial information this holiday season! If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or Complete our online quote form today!
In Store Shopping:
- Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi will not offer a secure connection and can make it easier for hackers to get your information. Your information is more secured when using your cellular network.
- Protect Your Pin – Use your hand to block the keypad as you enter your pin if you are paying with a debit card.
- Watch What You Say – When checking out, stores often ask for personal information. For example, they may want to verify your phone number, birthday, or mailing address. Be careful to not reveal too much information if there is a crowd around.
- Keep Your Wallet and Bag on You at All Times – You may be distracted while trying to pick out the perfect gifts, and thieves know this. Don’t set down any purses, shopping bags, or even your phone while you shop.
- Be Leery of Skimmers – Remain on the lookout for devices attached to card readers or ATMs that could steal your financial data. Also watch out for anyone behind you in a checkout line that could be snapping a photo of your credit card number or other personal information.
Online Store Shopping:
- Use a Credit Card Instead of a Debit Card – Credit cards typically offer more fraud protection than debit cards. Purchases on debit cards take the money directly from your account, but when using a credit card, you will have more time to dispute fraudulent charges.
- Avoid Suspicious Websites – Cyber criminals can easily create a website that mimics a well-known site to trick you into revealing personal information. Look for minor discrepancies in the web address. For example, they may use www.amaz0n.com instead of www.amazon.com.
- Turn Off Autocomplete Features – We advise you to not store any credit card information on your phone, but if you do, you can turn off the function that will automatically insert the card information when you get to the checkout page.
- Enable Notifications for Package Deliveries – Bring packages inside as soon as possible after delivery is made. This will avoid having packages stolen, or giving thieves the idea that you are out of town with an empty house at their disposal.
- Be Careful of what you Share Online – Over-sharing information such as your children’s names and dates of birth or holiday plans can lead thieves lurking on your “friend” list to gain access to valuable information that could help them hack into your online accounts or even know when you’re out of town to attempt to break into your property.
- Use Protection Tools – Take advantage of protection tools, such as ID theft alerts, enrolling in an identity theft protection company plan, and new chip cards, which add an extra layer of protection for consumers.
- Be Careful When Opening New Retail Credit Accounts – Many stores offer discounts and incentives to those who open a store credit card account, but it’s important that shoppers remain vigilant throughout the enrollment process. For example, you may be required to write down your Social Security number or other personal information when opening an account. Be sure no one is spying over your shoulder when you do so, and ask the sales associate how your information will be discarded after it is entered into the system.
- If you receive promotional offers through email that seem too good to be true, be sure to do your due diligence. You’ll want to make sure these offers are legitimate and secure before submitting any personal information.
- Check Your Statements and Credit Reports – Always check over your credit card statements and credit reports, especially during high-volume shopping periods like the holiday season. Remain vigilant and inquire about any suspicious activity to catch any attempt at identity theft before it escalates.
Whether you are shopping in stores or online, stay safe this holiday season!