The month of December is the busiest shopping month of the year for the majority of people. Whether you shop online or in stores, the holiday season is a good time to address the issue of identity theft and how to protect yourself from it. With recent security breaches at Target and Home Depot affecting millions of shoppers, everyone is responsible for limiting their exposure to fraud when shopping.
Identity thieves are prepared to target shoppers during the holidays because of how frantic and busy retailers are this time of year, but if you are armed with awareness, shoppers can confidently make their purchases and protect their identities.
- Watch the web address. If the site reads “https” it is secured. Sites where credit card information is entered should always have “https” and not “http.”
- Do not store information. Many e-commerce sites ask consumers to store credit cards, do not be tempted to store this information. While it may be easier to not have to enter it every time you purchase something, leaving your credit card information on a retailer’s site makes you more vulnerable to identity thieves.
- Create Complex Passwords. Having hard to guess passwords helps protect accounts that contain financial or other identifying information. Also remember to change your password frequently.
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet.
- Do not use any personal information for your passwords, such as your social security number or birth date.
- Use a shredder when getting rid of any documents containing your personal information.
- If your wallet or credit card goes missing, call right away to freeze your accounts.
- At least once a year, order a credit report and report and discrepancies immediately.
- Pay from one place. Set up any online bill payments through your bank, so your credit card information isn’t on multiple sites.
Being a victim of identity theft can be a costly and stressful situation. Being aware of this danger can help keep you protected all year long, but being especially careful during the busy holiday season is important. If you would like to add identity theft protection to your policy, please contact one of our experienced agents at Buttrey Wulff Mamminga. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.