Beware of Identity Theft

Nov 30, 2015

It’s more and more common for shoppers to avoid the crowds by shopping online. But there is one thing that is becoming harder and harder to avoid: identity theft.

During the holidays, people are distracted and busy and thieves are taking advantage of that. You may think that you are a safe shopper and are protecting your identity, but during the holidays it is important to increase your security awareness.

Here are a few tips for safe shopping.

1. Take advantage of free credit reports.

It used to be harder to check credit reports, but now there are countless services that offer free credit reports and scores.  Use these services and check them and review your reports frequently.

2.  Do not use wi-fi when entering secure information

Public wi-fi is exactly what it says, “public”. Anytime you make an online transaction or check your bank account when using public wi-fi, the information becomes available to criminals. They have access to the network and can then access your personal information.

3. Beware of false emails

There are many promotional emails being sent by companies this time of year. Thieves will create false  promotional emails that look like a popular retailer and link it back to their fake website.  There, they will have you enter your personal information when making a “purchase.”

In these cases, the URL will be slightly altered. Be sure to check the URL’s on every email that you open.

4. Check your Bank Account

Aside from signing up for free credit reports, make sure to check your bank account often. Look for unfamiliar charges and don’t overlook the small charges. Thieves can (and will) steal small amounts at a time, that add up. Thieves are more likely to do it around the holidays due to the increased volume of purchases.

5. Look out for Skimmers

Skimmers use attached card readers or ATMs to copy your debit and/or credit card information. They then create a replica to make purchases.  Be aware of anyone that may be using these attached readers.

Consider taking only one card when shopping, so that the chances of this are less likely.

6. Use credit cards

Credit cards have better protection and don’t pull funds directly from your bank account. If your credit card does have unauthorized purchases, make sure to report it within 90 days.

7. Be careful what you share on Social Media

Oversharing is a real problem- not just because you may be annoying family and friends, but because it can give important information to identity thieves.  The information you share on social media may give away answers to security questions on financial accounts.

Net Nanny cares about protecting children online, but we also want to make sure the parents are protected as well.  Visit our blog and learning center for more articles about online safety.

The holidays can be a busy time online and offline. Be aware and proactive about protecting your identity this season.  Happy Shopping!