How to Avoid Holiday Identity Theft: What You Need to Know

In November 25, 2014

While you may know the basics on avoiding identity theft (not giving your social security number to just anybody, safeguarding your birth certificate, hiding your PIN number when you use an ATM), there is so much more to think about during the holiday season. Since it’s such a busy time (and a time that many of us do more shopping, traveling and the like), it only makes sense that identity theft rates soar this time of the year. However, if you’re proactive, you can avoid becoming a victim. Here are a few things that you need to know – and to share with those you love:

  • Be Careful When You Shop – Shopping in the mall for holiday gifts should be a perfectly safe activity, shouldn’t it? Actually, when you are preoccupied shopping, identity thieves have the perfect opportunity to attack. Make sure you keep your purse or wallet safe and check to see if anyone is looking over your shoulder before using your PIN number at a store or ATM.
  • Be Careful When You Travel – Traveling means that you will likely have many of your important documents (passport, birth certificate, etc.) with you. Guard your bags and make sure no one is taking the chance to steal your stuff. Additionally, make your plans using familiar, legitimate websites to avoid having your identity stolen in this manner.
  • Be Careful When Away From Home – If you’re going to be away from your house for the holidays, either have a trusted individual collect your mail or have the post office hold it for you. This will make it harder for thieves to grab sensitive information from your mail box.
  • Be Careful When You’re Online – Whether you’re using the internet for work, play or shopping, use caution to make sure you don’t inadvertently share your data with those who are trying to steal it. Use safe, secure Wi-Fi connections and don’t give your credit card information to just anyone. Your online activities don’t have to put you at risk.
  • Be Careful in the New Year – After the holidays wind down, take some time to review your bank statements, check your credit card statements and even pull your credit reports. That way you can start working to repair any issues before they spiral out of control.

It’s a shame that identity theft can be such a big problem. However, it is easier than ever to protect yourself if you stay informed about what is happening in the world. Use caution online and off, and don’t take anything for granted. If you are willing to put in a bit of effort to protect your identity, the chances of you becoming a victim are much less significant.



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