Protecting your Identity during the holiday shopping season.

Countdown, Three weeks until Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa! So, no matter which holiday you celebrate, if you are out there trying to purchase those last minute gifts for your loved ones and want to keep the money in your wallet safe here are some helpful tips to keep your identity from getting stolen.

  1. Take advantage of those free credit score checking sites. There are several that are truly free. You can check and monitor your credit score at no cost to you. Or you can opt to pay of a subscription to a credit reporting site if you like. Either way keep a close eye on your credit score and watch for any activity that is not coming from you.
  2. Be aware of Emails and unsolicited phone calls. If you receive an email with a link to a website wanting your credit card information it’s best to just go out of the link and look for that online store in a separate URL. Also, If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from your bank or credit card company saying there is suspicious activity on your card. Hang up and call the number on the back of your card to see if it is legit.
  3. Shop carefully, especially online. Double check that you are on the correct retail website. if you look at the URL in the right corner there will be a lock sign and that means the site is secure. Also, when shopping in store It’s a good idea to keep your purse in front of you if it’s an over the body strap or your wallet in a front pocket if your a man. Investing in an RFID wallet is always a good idea for the extra protection for your debit and credit cards as well.
  4. Review your account statements frequently. If you review your accounts frequently you will be able to identify, stop and fix any fraudulent activity quickly.
  5. Watch for skimmers. Skimming works by replacing a card reader like an ATM with a camouflaged counterfeit cardreader. The counterfeit reader records all of the data on a credit, debit or ATM card as it passes through the skimmer.atm-card-skimmer
  6. Use your CREDIT card instead of your DEBIT card. Your credit card has more safety features and you will not be putting your checking or savings account at risk should it get compromised.
  7. Beware when filling out new store credit applications. Sometimes as bargain shoppers we get excited to save that extra 25% By opening a credit account today. But by filling out a paper app and handing it to a stranger you just gave your important information away. Someone could take a photo of your info or even throw it in the trash when they are done entering it into the system. So it’s best to ask if there is a secure online site you can use to sign up for the credit account online.
  8. Limit your social media sharing. You may not realize it but a lot of the security question answers are things we share everyday on our social media like anniversaries, your mothers maiden name, or pets name. It’s best to go in and increase your privacy control settings and use hard to guess passwords as well as different passwords for each site.
  9. Check the protection you have on your card. The new cards that have the chips are more secure than the old cards that just have the strips. If you don’t already have the card with the chip call your card provider and ask them to send you one.
  10. Monitor or freeze your credit if your data is breached. Make sure to monitor very closely or freeze your credit so no additional accounts can be opened if your information has been compromised. If you are signed up for a credit monitoring company they can help you do this or you can contact the credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and Trasunion directly .

Go out and enjoy the atmosphere of Holiday music and decor while finding the perfect gift for that special loved one. Use these simple tips and enjoy the season!

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