The holiday season can be a wonderful time of year, but also an expensive one. November and December are two of the busiest months of the year when it comes to retail sales in the United States. As a result, those months are also prime time for identity theft. That’s why we’re going to go over a few of our top tips for avoiding identity theft during the holiday.
It’s always a good idea to regularly update your account information and passwords for all of your banking and shopping websites. It is imperative that you do this during the holiday shopping season. Cyber crime has never been more pervasive than it is now, and the easiest way to protect yourself is to change your passwords regularly. Taking the time to do this now might save you a lot of time and money down the line.
Stick With What You Know
If a site you have never heard of has a deal you didn’t think was possible, chances are it’s a scam. The best thing to do is shop with sites that you know of, or have heard of. A new website could easily be a scam.
The best way to minimize your risk is to only buy from websites that are secure. A secure website always has “https://” in their URL. If you don’t see that in your browser window, chances are high that the website is a scam.
There is no way around the fact that buying products online puts your information at risk. If you do choose to shop online, it’s important that you do everything in your power to mitigate that risk. The best way to do that is to shop only from secure websites, from sellers you know or have heard of.
The truth of the matter is that you can do everything right, and still fall victim to identity theft. That’s why it is so important to regularly monitor all of your accounts. That means your bank account and all lines of credit that are available to you. Identity thieves will often test their stolen identities with small purchases first. The faster you find out that your identity was stolen, the less damaging that theft will be. Take the time to regularly monitor your accounts.
Shred! While you may not make a regular practice of it, shredding important documents is an effective way of protecting your identity. It only takes a signature or social security number for a thief to steal an identity. That’s why it’s so crucial that you shed all your banking paperwork, receipts and bills. While it’s a good idea to that year around, is particularly important to do so around the holidays when so many identities are being stolen.
Identity theft is a common crime and is disproportionately likely to happen during the holiday season. While there is always some risk, you can significantly mitigate that risk by taking the steps discussed today to protect your identity.