The holidays are a time for celebration and spending time with family and friends. But they can also be a time when your personal information is at risk. Here are some tips to protect your identity this holiday season:
Protect Your Identity In Public
With the holidays upon us, identity theft is on the rise. Protect your data at all costs to ensure that thieves do not obtain any of your information this holiday season. Use these tips to stay safe when shopping and attending holiday parties.
Monitor Your Credit Cards
The best tip to protect yourself against identity theft is by limiting how much personal information you show in public. Be sure to monitor your credit report regularly. You can get a free credit report every year from AnnualCreditReport.com. This will help you spot any fraudulent charges on your account. If you see anything suspicious, be sure to report it to the credit bureau immediately.
Carry A RFID Wallet
Many people are unaware of the fact that RFID-enabled cards can be scanned and copied without the cardholder’s knowledge. Thieves can purchase inexpensive devices that allow them to scan and copy your credit or debit card information, including your name and address. To protect yourself from this type of theft, carry a wallet that is equipped with RFID protection.
Anti-scan wallets contain a layer of material that shields cards from scanners, making them impossible for thieves to use. Wallets can be purchased online or at stores such as CVS and Target. To prevent your wallet from being stolen, always carry it in a front pocket or tightly held under your arm rather than placing it in your purse or backpack.
Protect Your Identity On Your Phone
Avoid Using Public WIFI
Avoid using public WIFI while shopping online this holiday season. Hackers are unpredictable and can come from anywhere, making it easy for them to steal your identity if you’re not careful. Public WIFI is a known hacker hotspot, so don’t give anyone the chance to take over your phone with malware or spyware.
Close Your Phone Apps
Many people don’t realize that when they have a bunch of apps open on their phone, companies can see what those apps are and how often they’re being used. So, if you have your browsers open to shopping sites, your bank’s app open, and your email app open, it looks like you’re shopping and checking your email a lot.
Protect your identity this holiday season by being careful about which apps you have open on your phone. If an app is on your phone, but you never use it, odds are there is some data being collected that you aren’t aware of. Go through all of the apps on your phone and delete any that haven’t been used recently. Additionally, be sure to delete any old apps that you no longer use.
Protect Your Identity Online
Ensure A Secure Connection
While shopping online this holiday season, remember to conduct your transactions on a secure connection . A secure connection will have HTTPs at the beginning of the website’s URL and a small key or lock in front of it. Never submit private information such as passwords and social security numbers over unsecured connections because they give hackers easy access to your private information.
Give yourself time to shop for a secure connection. If a site doesn’t have a secure connection, it’s best not to submit personal information on that site. When possible, start your transactions at home or work where you can use a secure WIFI connection instead of the public one at the mall. That way, no person or hacker will be able to steal your identity or financial information.
Shop from companies you trust. When shopping online, look for a website that is secure and has a lock symbol on the browser.
Update Your Antivirus Programs
To protect your identity during the holiday season, you would first want to update your antivirus programs. Antivirus software is the one of the most important things you can have on your computer. It protects you from viruses, spyware, and any other bad program that could slow down or harm your computer. In order to ensure that it is updated, you should check on it once a week to see if there are any updates.
Protect Your Identity At Home
Shred All Unwanted Documents
If you are like most people, you will be receiving a lot of holiday cards and other mail over the next few weeks. Be sure to shred any documents that contain personal information such as your name, address, or Social Security number before throwing them away. This will help protect your identity from thieves.
Another thing you can do to prevent thieves from stealing your identity is to conceal your name when mailing packages. Thieves often steal holiday packages that are left outside homes and then open them, take what they want, and re-seal the package with tape. To prevent this from happening, you can choose to have your holiday parcels delivered to a shipping store where you can pick them up yourself.
Do Not Give Out Information Over The Phone
Never give out personal information over the phone or online unless you are the one doing the requesting.
This may include your full name, address, phone number, pin numbers, social security number, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. With this information criminals can commit identity theft by applying for credit cards or loans in your name. If an unknown individual requests personal information over the phone, do not give it to them. Hang up and call the company or institution they are supposedly representing to verify their identity.
By following these tips, you can protect yourself from identity theft this holiday season. Stay safe and have a happy holiday from yours truly at Bayshore Interactive.