The holidays are just about upon us and while you are thinking about Christmas cheer and spending time with family, identity thieves are on the lookout for your personal information.
Identity theft cases hit their annual peak during the holidays, because most consumers are more concerned with getting their holiday to-do list done; rather than protecting their identity.
All it takes is a little effort to protect your identity to ensure that you and your family enjoy a hassle-free holiday season.
Be Cautious About Public Wi-Fi
Whether you are at a coffee shop or you’re accessing a department store’s Wi-Fi connection, that public Internet is not as secure as you might think. Even with anti-virus and phishing protection on your computer or smart device, you are at risk. If you can, avoid using Wi-Fi hotspots or logging into your personal accounts while browsing the Internet on them.
Review Credit and Bank Statements Frequently
The moment your credit card or bank statement is available, open it and review it thoroughly. Look for any unauthorized charges, unexplained debits or withdrawals from the ATM. If you notice something suspicious, report it immediately.
Don’t Use Checks or Debit Cards
Checks and debit cards withdrawal directly from your bank account. If these are intercepted, an identity thief has direct access to your savings and checking accounts. Instead, use your credit cards while shopping. You can always pay them immediately afterwards using your checking account, but this way you aren’t providing thieves with direct access to your information.
Make Copies of Your Cards
Stolen or lost wallets are common during the hustle of the holidays. Make copies of your credit and debit cards (front and back) and store them in your safe at home. Then, if one of your cards is lost or stolen, you can contact the issuer right away and have all of the information you need to put a freeze on them.
Don’t Carry Everything in Your Purse
There is no reason to carry every single credit card, your social security or other personal documents in your purse. Purse snatching and pocket picking is common during holiday shopping, especially in packed department stores. Carry only the cards you need to do your shopping and never carry your social security card with you.
Shop Online with Reputable Suppliers
Online shopping is risky. While you may find an excellent deal on another site, stick to reputable online suppliers, such as eBay, Amazon or a department store.
What If Your Identity is Stolen? Get In Touch With Identity Theft Attorney
If your identity is stolen, enlist the help of an experienced personal identity theft attorney in West Palm Beach. An attorney can help you contact the necessary authorities, file the right documents to protect your identity, and help you restore your identity faster.