Protect Your Wallet & Identity this Holiday Season
The holiday season is here and it is an exciting but hectic time of year, as you all know! With all the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, attending holiday parties, and getting those decorations up in the office and at home, it can be extremely easy to get caught up in all of the joyful excitement, which is definitely not a negative thing. With that said however, if you fail to practice some simple security measures throughout the holiday season, you may wind up with an empty wallet. Identity theft is one of the biggest concerns this time of year as thieves have significant opportunities they can take advantage of. Theft in general is at an all-time high in December, so it is important you are taking measures to protect yourself and your business.
Thieves know that during the holiday season, shoppers are out in the highest numbers of the year making purchases for their family and loved ones. With all of the shopping occurring, thieves also know that many residences will be absent from their home or business; again more temptation for thieves to steal information, goods, receipts, and anything else they can get their hands on that will benefit them.
The good news is that there are several simple things you can do to reduce the risk of identity theft, limiting your chances to falling victim to such a terrible crime this holiday season:
Consider scenarios in your head with your spare key. What does this mean exactly? Thieves are smart and are fully aware of the most popular places for these spare keys to be hidden. Stay away from hiding your key in easily accessible and common locations (doormat, flower pot etc.)
Always be aware of your purse and wallet while out and about. Shopping centers are a zoo this time of year which means it’s also the perfect time for thieves to pickpocket. Keep your purse snug to your body so that you have full view of it at all times and of course ensure your wallet is safely out of plain sight and closed, so there is zero chance someone could snag it from you while you make your way through the busy crowds.
Safely store your receipts away until you are able to securely shred them. Refrain from placing any documents such as receipts in the recycling or garbage can, unless they are entirely shredded first. These little papers may seem irrelevant, but dumpster divers would argue authorize. In fact, receipts contain valuable information that can provide someone with the right information needed to access and compromise one’s identity, such as taking over a credit card account.
Use your credit card for purchases when able. Paying for items through cheques and debit cards, will actually leave your bank account vulnerable to exposure. If you happen to use your card in a fraudulent machine, you may have a more challenging time retrieving your money back. Credit cards on the other hand won’t withdraw funds from your bank account, nor will they uncover details of your bank account. You might also have more time to catch fraudulent transactions with credit cards as opposed to debit / cheques.
After the holidays, be sure to continuously check on your statements when they arrive or are posted online. Due to the fact that tremendous shopping is done throughout the holiday months, statements can be long, and fraudulent transactions can be overseen if and when skimming over your accounts. Take the time to carefully review these even if your statement is remarkably long from holiday shopping.
Take extra caution while doing any shopping online. Always confirm that the website you are on is secure and reputable. Finally, if you see a deal which is too good to be true, it probably is!
Don’t let your identity be compromised over the holiday season! Take precaution to ensure that it is as happy and enjoyable as ever!
From all of us at ProShred Minnesota, have a very happy and safe holiday season!