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Identity theft is a year-round problem, but crooks shift into high gear during the holidays. Whether you like to shop online or at the mall, here are some easy and effective ways to help safeguard your information and help you avoid becoming a victim of ID theft:
Think twice about shopping online using public wi-fi. Using your laptop, tablet or smartphone to make online purchases can be a bad idea if you’re using public wi-fi at a café or any other public location. For more information about the dangers of using public wi-fi, go here.
Heading to the mall? Carry as little as possible with you. Keep as few credit cards and other identifying information in your purse or wallet as possible when you shop this holiday season. Leave your Social security card and passport at home. Don’t write a lot of checks? Consider leaving your checkbook at home, too.
Be on the lookout for telephone scams. Telephone scams often increase during the holiday season. Avoid giving out personal information unless you have initiated the call or you are absolutely sure you know who you are dealing with. Here are some great tips to avoid becoming a victim of telephone scams.
Take precautions when buying online. Before submitting personal or financial information through a website, check for the locked padlock image on your browser’s status bar. Look for “https://” (rather than “http://”) in your browser window. This can help you determine whether you’re using an authenticated website. Consider shopping only with established and reputable retailers.
Watch your credit card statements. Carefully monitor your bank and credit card statements during the holidays to make sure all transactions are accurate. With online access, you can check your accounts as often as you wish! If you suspect a problem, contact your credit card company or bank immediately.
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