Haven’t got your shopping done for the holidays? Well, you’re not the only one… (Cough, Cough, points at self). Yes, yours truly hasn’t finished his holiday shopping either. Soon I’m going to be one of the many mobbing the malls trying to finish off those gifts we forgot to cross off the list. As much as December is prime time for buying gifts, it is also prime for ID theft. To prevent your credit card and holiday gifts from being under some thief’s Christmas Tree this year, our debt counselors have some tips to help.
When Out Shopping…
- If you are carrying a wallet, make sure that it is in a tight pocket (Such as pants) rather than a jacket pocket. It’s a lot easier for a thief to grab your wallet without you noticing from your jacket.
- Carrying a purse? Use one with a strap and keep it in front of you so you can see it at all times. Never leave it on the ground or unattended.
- When using a public ATM in the mall, make sure to cover what your password is so that potential thieves won’t be able to see it.
- Park your vehicle in well-lit areas so that if a thief approaches you at your vehicle, it would be tough for them to avoid not being seen.
- If you have to leave gifts in your vehicle while shopping, be sure to lock them away in the trunk so they are not visible.
- Don’t carry a lot of cash on you.
- If you can, shop with a friend or relative.
Fact: There is typically an increase in thefts and robberies during November & December. As we said, Identity Theft is rampant.
While At Home…
- Do you live in an apartment complex and are ordering gifts online? See if you can have them shipped to where you work to prevent them from being stolen from your apartment lobby. You could also have the gifts shipped to a family or friend’s home instead of work.
- Did you buy something that came in a large box like a new HD television? Make sure to break down the boxes when throwing them away or else you are advertising to potential thieves about what expensive items you have in your home.
- Going away for the holiday? Be sure NOT to mention this on your voicemail or Facebook.
- Make sure all doors and windows (Especially the ones on the first floor) are securely locked to prevent an easy entrance for a thief.
While Shopping Online…
- Make sure the website you are on is the official website and not a fake. (Do your research online and make sure you’re not falling into a scam).
- Purchasing items from your laptop? Be sure that you are using a safe and secure internet signal that is password encrypted. (If it isn’t, hackers can easily steal important information from your computer).
- When purchasing your gifts online, make sure the site is secured. (“https” instead of “http.” The “s” means it is secure).
What do you do to protect yourself and your purchases around the holidays? How do you avoid ID theft?
Be careful not to run into Jerry Seinfeld, he may try and steal your marble rye.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.