How To Avoid Holiday Identity Theft

Author

John Wasik, Contributor

December 10, 2015

Thieves can pick your pocket any number of ways these days. They can go online, steal credit card numbers and even pilfer your medical records. It pays to be vigilant when it comes to your financial information.

But they don’t have to wait for business hours to conduct their theivery. They are active 24/7 all across the world, prompting businesses to spend more than $200 billion next year to ward off cyber attacks, which now number more than 800,000 annually, according to Alert Logic, a cyber security firm. There are nearly 13 million identity theft incidents every year.

Of course, having good cyber-security software on your computer and mobile devices makes a lot of sense. And you should not deal with sites that are not secure. Here are some other tips to avoid trouble, according to The Hanover Insurance Group.

  • Be savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots – Do not share personal or financial information over an unsecured Wi-Fi network (one that does not require a password for access).
  • Make sure the site is legitimate – Before entering any credit card or personal information, look for a closed padlock on your web browser or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.
  • Protect your personal information – Make sure the information requested is only that needed to complete the transaction. Check the website’s privacy policy to understand how the information will be used.
  • Keep a clean machine – Smartphones or other devices used for shopping should have up-to-date software.
  • Keep a paper trail – Save records of online transactions and check credit card statements as soon as they arrive. Immediately report any discrepancies.

Ideally, the use of credit cards with computer chips embedded in them should help deter fraud. Seek out vendors who offer them. Although their implementation is slow and cumbersome — they take longer than magnetic strip cards to process — the technology will improve.

Also consider using “no touch” payment technologies such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

And for those who are particularly prone to telemarketers, never give your credit card, Social Security or banking information to anyone on the phone — unless you called them and know who they are. By being vigilant, you can avoid problems with scam operators.

 

This article was written by John Wasik from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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