Oh the holidays, it’s the happiest season of all, right? Let’s keep it that way by protecting your identity!

In all of the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to be distracted and put yourself at risk. You’ve also probably got some out of the ordinary habits going on this month, providing more opportunities for fraud.

Review these tips to protect yourself and your identity this Christmas.

  • Be aware of the people around you and keep your belongings close. A busy store is a breeding ground for pickpockets and thieves. Hold your wallet tightly and pay attention to the behaviors of those around you.
  • Do not go to ATMs that are not affiliated with a respected bank. The truth is, there’s no way to know how your personal information is being handled inside of the ATM, therefore choose one associated with a familiar bank for legitimacy.
  • Always get your receipt. It may be annoying to have all of the little pieces of paper floating around. But, if something fishy were to show up on your bank statement, that receipt might be your only proof! On the same note, be sure to get your card back and watch carefully that your card is only swiped once when you make a transaction.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi connections when making online purchases or checking your bank account. Hackers love to sneak on to your laptop or cell phone and get access to your information without you ever being aware it’s happening.
  • On the same note, be sure to close out of any apps on your phone that have any financial or personal data as soon as you’re finished using them. These are also at risk for hacking.
  • When online shopping, do not make purchases from companies that are not well-known and trustworthy. If the item that’s usually $100 is only $20 on an obscure website you’ve never heard of before, that should be a red flag to you that it’s probably a scam.  An easy way to see if a website is secure is to check for “https” (not just “http”) in front of the URL.
  • Shred any mail or documents that have identifying information on them. Identity theft commonly occurs from documents found dumpster diving. This is a higher risk during the holidays when a lot of year-end statements are being sent out.
  • Be cautious of phone calls where your personal information is requested. Ask identifying questions of charities or banks requesting financial information over the phone. Be generous this holiday season, but make sure your gift is going to the right place!

Identity theft is never fun, but it’s especially unfortunate when it’s taking away your time with family and friends during the holidays. Be sure to protect yourself and your Christmas!

Call us anytime at 225-927-0451 to discuss more ways to ensure your identity is secure. We’re here to help.