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.
Online 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.
While Cyber Monday and Black Friday are in the rearview mirror, the season for shopping will continue well into the New Year as retailers close out their inventory and offer post-holiday sales. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Holiday Shopping Identity Protection & Security Tips
If you want to buy something from a less well 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?
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.
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.
Often your bank will recommend that you use a credit card to perform online purchases because you are protected by the Consumer Credit Directive. In store you can always pay in cash, which is a safe bet as there is no information exchanged. You can also use prepaid gift cards since these do not store personal data, and the 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 overpayments 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.