Whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, the holiday season should be a time of happiness, celebrated with family and trusted friends. Unfortunately, some shoppers don’t experience all the perks and joy they should. Instead, they find out their identity has been stolen.
These disasters might be found out when a bank blocks their card during a purchase, they find their credit cards have been maxed out, or their bank accounts are depleted. Others return home from a family vacation to their home having been robbed. Some holiday shoppers don’t discover a crime has been committed until they receive their credit card bill or file their taxes for the following year!
Don’t be scammed or stolen from during the happiest time of year!
Follow our holiday guide and learn what to look for when holiday shopping. Knowledge is power and can help you avoid the pitfalls so that you can be one of the lucky ones!
Think you’ve already had your identity stolen? Do a quick search at Social Catfish:
How to Prevent Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud
Busy shoppers may not be as aware of the altered ATM or gas station credit readers. Skimmers can install a device that will steal your credit information. Look for a great keyboard, a different looking ATM, security stickers ripped or removed, damaged metal, etc. If you see those features, do not use that machine and alert the staff.
Social Media Awareness
You like to keep connected and share updates about your day to day life. However, as tempting as it is, never tell people on social media what your travel itinerary is or that you are out of town. By oversharing, criminals have the perfect opportunity to rob your home while you’re away!
As you carry shopping bags to your car and juggle your purse and wallet, beware of those around you. Look for people who might follow you to your vehicle or be waiting with an open car door, to rob you! Keep your wallet out of view, when walking through crowded shopping centers, to avoid pickpockets. If you visit a hotel, take advantage of the safe for valuables!
Online shopping is formidable competition for in-person stores. Make sure you visit legitimate online stores by checking a site’s URL before submitting your credit card details. Beware of hyperlinks (the links inserted into promotional emails) and type the actual link into your browser instead.
Be careful which sites you give your credit card information to and check shipping location and information, as well as the rating (when possible) of whomever you buy from. Even if you have made online purchases, through sites like Amazon, emails asking for your password are a scam! Lastly, stay aware of websites that may have been hacked, redirect you, and phish your information!
Shred financial documents so that anyone who comes into your home for deliveries or holiday parties (or who goes through your trash!) can’t get a hold of private information that might be sold or used by identity theft criminals.
If you use your phone to online shop, which many people do, beware of public WiFi’s! The holiday season is the perfect time for a hacker to get into your computer and steal your financial data! Make sure your phone’s “hotspot” is private, turned off, or doesn’t have a generic password!
Check Credit Card/Bank Statements
With the many card purchases you may make during the holidays, it would be easy for a thief to skim off the top of your available balance. Sign up to receive purchase alerts from your bank or credit card by text or email. Also, look for inaccurate purchases and check that refunds are appropriately credited.
Wondering what the web knows about you, that anyone can find out with a simple search? Social Catfish wants you to protect yourself and your family this holiday season. Run a high-powered search that will scan all major search engines, social media profiles, address, username, phone number, photos and more! Know what they know: