12/09/09

How the Grinch stole your identity

grinch_santaMake sure you are protected this holiday season !!

Not every Grinch is as obvious as the one we know with the big belly, and long fingers covered in green hair.  Many are lurking over a shoulder or wading through garbage.  Identity thieves see the holidays as a potentially lucrative time of the year.  The holidays mean more trips to the mall, more online purchasing, and more opportunities for identity theft.  Help keep your identity safe this holiday season with identity theft coverage; including 24/7 assistance from experienced professionals who help with everything from identifying fraudulent accounts, to contacting creditors, and providing an emergency cash advance if it happens away from home. 

Here are some tips to help you enjoy a Grinch-free holiday season. 

 

 

Shoulder-surfing:  Hurried shoppers and long check out lines present a perfect opportunity for a theif to look over a shoulder and steal financial information.  Avoid it:  Be aware of the environment and protect credit cards, checks, driver’s licenses, and PINs from wandering eyes.

Skimming:  Shopper information can also be stolen when a clerk slides a credit card through a second machine – unrelated to the purchase – that scans the information from the magnetic strip and stores it until it can be downloaded onto a counterfeit card.  Avoid it:  Pay with cash.  When using a credit card, keep your eyes on it.  Carefully review your billing statements.

Online scams:  Ordering gifts online lets thieves pose as legitimate retailers or collect financial information through an unsecured website.  Avoid it:  Be wary of an online marketer that asks for a Social Security number.  Keep a printed copy of online order confirmation.

Phishing:  Some thieves trick people into giving up personal information online by sending phony e-mails with links to fake websites asking for updated billing information.  Avoid it:  Legitimate companies don’t ask for sensitive information over e-mail.  Never provide the information in response to an e-mailed request.

Dumpster diving:  Thieves will go through garbage looking for credit card receipts and bank statements to retrieve personal information.  Avoid it:  Shred anything with a bar-code or other sensitive information.