Whether you’re heading off on vacation, tackling the stores or just enjoying an evening out, taking a few extra steps to protect yourself and your identity this holiday season isn’t only smart, it’s easy.
Criminals love distracting environments – and the holiday season provides just that with bustling crowds, bright displays, and enticing store sales. And while you’re out enjoying yourself, identity theft probably isn’t on the top of your mind. However, a distracted shopper or tourist provides an easy target for pick-pocketing, theft, or other types of crime. You can protect yourself by taking a few simple precautions.
When Out & About:
Limit Exposure: Avoid attracting attention to yourself by not carrying around large amounts of cash. If you do not have access to a credit or debit card, consider purchasing a pre-paid debit card. You have the ability to register these cards and cancel them instantly should you lose it or if it is stolen.
Save Receipts: Usually, people do not suspect a store employee of criminal activity. However, it is not unheard of. In fact, a great deal of fraud occurs when you give others your debit or credit card, such as at restaurants. Save and carefully review your receipts against your account statements.
Be on Guard: Take out your keys before you leave a store to return to your car. Take a second to look around your car before you get in. If you are shopping in the evening, try to park in a lighted area.
Know with Whom You are Dealing: Never make purchases over the phone or through a website that you do not trust or know. Look for the “lock” icon on the address bar when making purchases online. The web address should also begin with “https” instead of “http”.
Use Virus Software: Before purchasing anything online or disclosing personal information, ensure that your firewall is turned on and that your virus protection software is up to date. Most virus software will alert you if you are trying to visit a known malicious website.
We’re Here to Help!
Be safe – whether you’re out and about or shopping online at home. By protecting yourself and your personal information, you will prevent a bad person from spoiling the most wonderful time of the year.
If you have questions on your accounts or suspect your identity has been stolen, please stop by our branch or give us a call at 800-343-6328.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.