Data Facts Lending Solutions Blog

Holiday Shopping Tips to Help Protect Against ID Theft

by Jennifer Hamby

Nov 26, 2014 9:51:00 AM

 

holiday_shopping_tips

Holiday Shopping season is an identity thief’s dream come true.  Millions of people, spending millions of dollars,  in thousands of stores, both in stores and online, in a condensed amount of time.  It is a treasure trove of victims, ripe for the picking.  This is why it is more important than ever to take special precautions when shopping both online and in stores this holiday season.

Online:

  • Verify Website Security:  
You can tell if a site is secure by the URL. A secure web site starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://. The S stands for SECURE

Any site dealing with financial transactions should use "Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security", (commonly just called SSL).  When SSL/TLS is in use, a small lock icon is shown in the status/address bar.  You can actually click on the icon and it will provide a security report. 

Never put credit information on a site that is not https or doesn’t have the lock icon 

  •  Type the correct URL address when accessing a website. 

Once you have confirmed a secure site, put it in your favorites to access again, reducing the likelihood of a typo.  Cyber criminals use Web addresses that resemble the name of a well-known company but are slightly altered by adding, omitting, or transposing letters.  This is called “typo-squatting” or cyber squatting”    

  • Use a gift card or disposable credit card

This will not only protect your identity but also reduce your financial risk to only the funds available on the gift or prepaid card. 

In-Store 

  •  Beware of ‘shoulder surfers”  

When shopping in a store, or getting money out of an ATM. Identity thieves may stand close behind you to view what you are doing.  Everyone now has a cell phone camera.  They can take a picture of your card, or a video of you typing in your pin.  Protect your credit cards, driver's license and checkbook from wandering eyes.

  •  Never take your eyes off your credit card when you hand it over to pay.
Unscrupulous store clerks may use a "skimming" device that downloads your information. Make sure your card gets swiped only once, through one machine and the swipe takes place in front of you. If a clerk turns his or her back on you and conceals your view of the swipe in any way, ask for your card back immediately.  This goes for restaurants too.  Try to pay for cash in a restaurant, instead of handing your card over to a server who will take it out of your sight for several minutes. 
  •  When heading out to the mall, only carry the credit card you will be using. 

Minimize your purse.  Carry cash, one or 2 credit cards, and your driver’s license.    This will reduce your exposure if you are a victim of ID theft.    And once again, a gift card or disposable/re-loadable credit card is always the safest bet as it is not tied to either your identity or any additional funds.

Topics: Identity theft, Data Breach, credit cards, Holiday tips

The Facts About Identity Theft

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