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Holiday Shopping Identity Protection Tips

Avoid scams and protect your identity during one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year.

Whether you do all of your holiday shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or spread it out over the season both in store and online, there are still plenty of security risks to take into consideration.

Identity thieves are out in full force, ready to capitalize on the millions of online shoppers who are submitting their private credit card information during one of the busiest times of the year.  Likewise, brick and mortar locations are susceptible to data breaches as shoppers rush in droves to take advantage of the hottest gifts of the year.

Of course, shopping for the season will continue well into the New Year as retailers close out their inventory and offer post-holiday sales.  No matter when or how you shop, identity thieves have found new ways to take your identity.

Despite the higher than normal risk of identity fraud happening during the holiday shopping season, there are safeguards consumers can put into place to try and limit their potential risk and damage, should fraud occur.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION & SECURITY TIPS

DO YOUR RESEARCH

If you want to buy something from a lesser known website or retailer, spend a few minutes researching them and asking for recommendations.  If they aren’t legitimate, you will quickly find out.  Do stores employ the most up to date card reader machines?  Do online retailers use secure socket layer technology?

PAYMENT TYPE MATTERS

You usually have a choice when it comes to paying: will you use a credit card, debit card, a payment service like PayPal, or some other option?  A credit card is often a good choice for shopping online.  Fraud protection with credit cards is quite strong, and getting charges reversed is pretty simple.  All you have to do is report the suspicious activity to your card issuer or let them know you never received what you paid for.

BEWARE OF THIRD-PARTY SELLERS

Websites like Amazon and eBay allow third-party users to set up retail shops online.  If you intend to make a purchase from one of these, check their rating and what users are saying about them.  Make sure reviews are from verified purchases.  While many deals are legitimate, beware of deeply discounted items or goods that seem too good to be true.  Often times, they are.  This also goes for any items being sold from a new, “just launched” third-party seller.  Many have been established just to scam you out of money, and often your identity.

PAYMENT DETAIL STORAGE

Some websites will ask if you want to store your payment details, others will require you to opt out of having them stored.  It’s always best to err on the side of caution and never store your credentials online.

PREPAID CARDS ARE A BIG HELP

When in a physical store, you can always pay in cash.  This is a safe bet as there is no information exchanged.  Another way to safeguard your information is to use prepaid gift cards since these do not store personal data.  The added bonus is you stay within a budget.

Always keep an eye on your bank statements throughout the holiday season.  Be on the lookout for small “under the radar” payments or possible over-payments that could indicate that your card has been compromised.

If you do notice anything suspicious, report it to your bank as soon as possible.

Be sure to keep your credit card statements, bank statements, and receipts for the amount of time necessary, and be sure to call Legal Shred when it’s time to destroy them. Don’t make it through the holiday shopping season unscathed only to have your identity stolen from the trash!

Legal Shred offers one-time services for residential customers and can safely and securely shred your documents.

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Holiday Shopping Identity Theft

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