September 20, 2008
How To Protect Yourself Against Holiday Identity Theft Traps
Holidays are a dangerous time in terms of identity theft – whether because of people using their credit cards more often, or because they are less careful during these times. It is therefore important that you take particular care to protect yourself from holiday identity theft traps. In this article we are going to give you some pointers on how you can protect yourself during the holiday season and all year round from identity theft.
The first thing you can do to protect yourself against holiday identity theft traps is to be aware of high risk areas and to be extra cautious in these areas. High risk areas include states and cities where there is a high incidence of identity theft (e.g. Arizona), as well as in high risk areas within a specific city (e.g. busy malls).
The second step in protecting yourself from holiday identity theft traps is to be extra careful with your receipts and other paperwork which may be used in identity theft cases. Shred all unneeded receipts, bills and other paperwork before putting it into the trash. Unfortunately trash is one of the methods that identity thieves can get hold of your information and so you should ensure that all paperwork is thoroughly shredded before placing in the trash.
The holiday season is also a perfect time for identity theft using the phone. In order to protect yourself from these types of holiday identity theft traps, you should try to never give out personal information over the telephone, especially not to people who contact you first. If you have contacted someone first and feel confident in the company and that it is not a fraud then possibly give out your details if necessary but try to find an alternative.
One area where even many cautious credit card users may get caught is through what is called skimming. Someone you trust (like a waiter, store clerk, etc) takes your credit card for a minute, scans your credit card details with a special skimmer and brings you back your card. You don’t realize that your details have been stolen but they put them on a fraudulent card and you start seeing illegal purchases on your credit report. One way to protect yourself against holiday identity theft traps of this nature is to consider, as far as possible, always paying by cash if you are in an area you are not familiar with or where there is a chance that your card may be taken out of your sight. If you do use your credit card ensure that you can always see the card and the clerk who is using it.
Phishing is becoming a very popular method of online fraud. Emails are sent out requesting personal information from you and supposedly from someone that you trust, such as your bank. Never give personal information away from a request in an email. Banks know about phishing and would never ask you to do so. Also be very careful when opening files and try not to open files if you don’t know who sent them or what the file contains.
Holiday identity theft traps are numerous and unfortunately many people get caught by these traps each year. Take extra special care during the holiday season but be on alert all year round. Shred all trash, never give out personal details over the phone, keep your credit card within sight and be very careful with emails.
You can also find more information at Prevent Identity Theft and Victims Identity Theft.Preventidentitythefthelp.com is a comprehensive resource to find how to secure your ID.