The holidays are a time for enjoyment with loved ones. It is also the time when we probably do more shopping than the rest of the year combined. As we prepare for the busiest retail season of the year, holiday gifters can take a series of steps to protect their identities.
Black Friday makes headlines every year, but it doesn’t have to be crazy, especially where your finances are concerned. Use this time before Black Friday to make a plan and take important steps to stay identity-safe.
Plan out your purchases: Pre-planning can give you a better sense of what to buy and where to find it, meaning when it comes time to check out, you’ll have a better idea of how much you’ll spend.
Choose your method of payment: Debit, credit, cash, or prepaid card – no matter the type of payment you choose, figure it out ahead of time. You might consider a prepaid credit card so that your actual credit cards aren’t vulnerable during this time, either to physical theft or hacking. Beware, however, since the cards do have fees associated with them, and act as physical cash – just in card form.
Check your statements regularly: After you’ve made your purchases, check all bank statements regularly and determine if all of the purchases belong to you.
Shop at retailers you trust: Remember to use trusted corporations who not only should have security protocols in place, but will have the means to offer support to their customers in the event of a breach. Also, keep all of your receipts handy.
Don’t give out more information than you’re comfortable with: Retailers often ask for additional information at check-out, typically your email address, but you aren’t required to give out this information. Only share the details that you are comfortable with, and never give out personal information like your Social Security number.
However you choose to shop, do your homework ahead of time to ensure that you’ve safeguarded your personal data. The last thing you need to do at this busy time of year is to track down your identity. Protect your family and friends by suggesting that everyone download the free ID Theft Help app from the Identity Theft Resource Center. You might not need it today, but it’s a comfort to have when identity questions and concerns pop up. Or, give us a call at our toll-free, 24/7 call center at 888-400-5530.