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

Important Tips For Avoiding Holiday Identity Theft

The holidays should be a time for celebration with your family and friends. But identity thieves can steal your identity and credit and can rob you of the holiday joy.

Don't become a statistic during the holiday season. Check out these important points to protect your identity.

How to protect your identity when shopping in stores

Identity thieves are getting creative every day, but there are ways that you can reduce your chances of becoming an ID theft victim. When you are out completing your holiday shopping:

  • Avoid letting clerks write your Social Security number on your check
  • Try to be alert for pick pockets
  • Protect your information from "shoulder surfers" (people looking over your shoulder trying to get information when you complete a transaction)
  • Steer clear of leaving your laptop, wallet, or purse in your car while shopping
  • Try to use secure ATMs
  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Avoid leaving your receipts in your bags

How to protect your ID during online holiday shopping

  • A 2012 study showed a 200% increase in pieces of personal information being picked up online. Be smart when you shop online this holiday season. Some tips to remember: Stick with online merchants you know
  • Only enter payment information on secure connections (where URL includes "https")
  • Ensure your wireless connection requires a security key or certificate.
  • Keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software up to date
  • Be careful what you click on, including links with shortened (or hidden) URLs
  • Choose complicated passwords ("password" is still most common - and unsecured - password used)
  • Leave suspicious websites immediately

Other important things to remember during the holidays

There are other tips that you can use during the holidays (and all year) to help protect your identity, including:

  • Keep your Social Security card at home in a safe place
  • Monitor your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often
  • Shred any bills or documentation with personal information