Prevent Identity Theft During Your Holiday Shopping

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Robbi, Lynn, Anonymous and 1 other

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Losing your identity to a thief is the one of the worst kinds of fate that you could have. And identity theft is an even bigger issue during the holidays. It pays to be extra careful with your identity during the holiday season. When shopping for clothing, ingredients, toys, or gifts, it is easy to lose your debit or credit card. Entering a mall or a shopping center is difficult enough because of the huge crowds that you have to sluggishly squeeze into to get what you want or need. You definitely don't need more aggravations when it comes to your identity by means of credit card theft or identity theft in general. Until this day, even in the midst of highly advanced technology, many still become helpless victims of professional identity thieves and other fraudsters. You have to take care of your financial safety and the most vital way to do this is to prevent identity theft during the holidays.

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Reasons Why the Holiday Season is the Peak of Identity Theft

It's the identity thieves' favorite time of the year once again. They just can't shake the thought of so many consumers using their financial information to purchase goods and services in time for the holidays. It is true that ID theft is a problem throughout the year, but these thieves, like predators, know when to strike hard and fast. Below are the reasons why identity thieves choose the holidays as their peak season:

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  1. 1
    More frequent use of credit cards. Frequent purchases expose your credit card information to identity thieves more often.
    This allows them to know more about you and your finances.
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  2. 2
    Consumers are more likely to provide personal information. Most consumers do this just to make their purchases in a hurry.
    Sadly, they usually find out too late that they've been victimized by identity thieves.
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  3. 3
    Shoppers who are always in a rush use online stores most of the time.
    Credit cards are the primary methods used in online payments. Identity thieves take advantage of this because many shoppers would rather stay at home and make their purchases online than squeeze into busy crowds at shopping centers.
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  4. 4
    Malls and stores are more packed with people.
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    This allows thieves to take whatever it is inside your pockets
    .
    It's easy to be a victim of identity theft this way. Wallets and purses usually contain financial and personal information.
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How to Prevent Identity Theft during Your Holiday Shopping

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As a responsible credit card owner, you should protect your financial information at all times. This involves safeguarding your personal information from opportunistic situations taken advantage of by ID thieves. It is common for a busy person like you to make purchases conveniently. However, you have to make sure that the stress-free shopping won't be taken over by a ton of worry in the end when you become an ID theft victim. The following are some of the ways you could prevent identity theft during your online or offline holiday shopping:

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  1. 1
    Secure your computer and mobile devices. Always use complicated passwords (not easy to guess) and update your security software.
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  2. 2
    Be careful when you join promos or contests (online or offline). Holidays are always packed with contests and promos that market various products and services.
    Be careful when you give your personal and financial information.
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  3. 3
    Make sure to check your annual credit report. The good news is that you can ask for a free credit report on an annual basis.
    It would be best to make the request during the holidays. Review the reports from each of the major credit bureaus and let them know of any discrepancies immediately. Any wrong information is a sign of ID theft.
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  4. 4
    Be aware of email or phone fraud. Just always keep in mind that a credible organization or company will never ask for your personal data via email or phone.
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  5. 5
    Wait for the holiday packages you expect to receive. Clever ID thieves actually follow delivery vans and snatch the delivered parcels before the recipient could get them.
    All the contents and valuable personal or financial information are instantly taken away. As the recipient, your delivery guy should ask for your signature when they deliver your package. This is to make sure you receive it. If you're not home, you can as a trusted neighbor to sign on your behalf.
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  6. 6
    When shopping online, look for the "https" or the padlock icon in the address bar of the site. These are symbols of security.
    They are there because the site protects all financial and personal information.
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  7. 7
    Invest in a cross-cut shredder. Shred your used documents using this shredder, so that ID thieves won't be able to see your information when they check your garbage.
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  8. 8
    Do not bring all of your credit cards with you. When you shop at malls, bring only a maximum of two credit cards.
    If you do become a victim of ID theft, you will not have trouble with all of your credit cards. It is also easier to correct ID theft with two credit cards as opposed to 5 credit cards.
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  9. 9
    Never lose sight of your credit card. When you use your credit card for payment, insist that you see what is happening.
    This will prevent anyone from copying your information and destroying your credit score.
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  10. 10
    Be careful with what you share online. Social networking is a common channel for ID thieves to get your personal information.
    Alter your security or privacy settings so that your birthday and full name are not displayed to everyone who checks you out.
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  11. 11
    Do not perform financial transactions when using public internet connections. Doing so allows hackers to jump into your mobile devices or computers to steal your information.
    WiFi hotspots are included in these wireless connections.
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Tips

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  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep your guard up at all times, even when shopping online.
  • Cover your hand as you type your PIN.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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Categories : Safety

Recent edits by: Anonymous, Lynn, Robbi

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