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Don’t Get Scrooged: Tips to Avoid Holiday Identity Theft

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s important to follow these important tips to avoid holiday identity theft. From phishing scams to complete financial identity theft, you need to make sure you take the proper steps when holiday shopping. Don’t get us wrong—we love online shopping and shopping at the mall, but we like it even more when it’s done safely. Keep your holiday season looking merry and bright, and check out the holiday identity theft avoidance tips below!

Understand the Different Types of Identity Theft

First, you should educate yourself on the different types of identity theft. The seriousness of these crimes ranges, but during the holidays, you’re most susceptible to things like social security identity theft and financial identity theft. Before the holidays truly begin, make sure you know how these crimes can impact your life.

Be Alert for Pick Pocketers

If you will go out to do your holiday shopping, especially during busy days like Black Friday, make sure you look out for pick pocketers. In general, one of the best ways to avoid holiday identity theft is just by staying aware of your surroundings. If you let your attention go lax, you’ll catch a thief’s eye. Make sure you keep your purse or wallet on you at all times, and put cards back where they belong after purchases.

Use Secure ATMs

Whether it’s the holidays or not, you should always use secure ATMs whenever possible. During the holidays, however, you need to be even more cautious about where you pull money from. Make sure the ATM you choose is well-lit, and don’t use it if anyone suspicious is lurking around. Truth be told, it’s better to just use an ATM connected to your bank—it will greatly lessen your chances of identity theft.

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

This is another tip you should follow all year—don’t use public Wi-Fi. Online shopping in a public area using the general Wi-Fi will heavily increase the chances you’ll get your identity stolen. Criminals can access information you send through public Wi-Fi, so make sure not to check your bank account or credit card statement in a public area. If you do, make sure you use a secure network. It may even be a good idea to install a Virtual Private Network, as it will secure and privatize the network if you need to use public Wi-Fi.

Check Your Bank Statements

During the holiday season, stay vigilant about checking your credit card statements and credit reports. Inquire about any suspicious activity you notice to catch any attempt at identity theft before it gets worse. This can end up being your saving grace!

Use Protection Tools

Take advantage of the different protection tools out in world, such as identity theft alerts and enrolling in a company’s identity theft protection plan. Even getting a new chip card before the holidays is a good idea, as this will add another extra layer of protection before your shopping begins.
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