For many people, the holidays are a busy time. There are visits with friends and family, school and kids’ activities to attend, work and social events, and more. While much about the season is meaningful and fun, the hustle and bustle of it all also mean we may let our guard down when it comes to protecting our identities and securing our personal identifiable information.

Fortunately, the ITRC is always a call or click away through its toll-free call center and website. Even better, its IDTheftHelp app for iOS and Android serves as a quick resource at your fingertips in the fight against identity theft.

There are a lot of ways your identity can become compromised or used for fraud at this time of year:

Holiday shopping – It’s the perfect time for a thief to nab your wallet, your smartphone, or both, and those items contain a wealth of information about you and your finances. Having access to the immediate steps you need to take is crucial if your items are lost or stolen.

Online shopping – One of the more convenient ways to tackle your gift list or your holiday meal prep planning is through the internet, but there are lots of ways hackers or scammers can target you online, especially at this time of year. Knowing the latest ITRC scam alerts is important for protecting yourself when using the internet for any reason.

Medical care – December is an ideal time for someone to use your identity to get medical care, pharmaceuticals, or other services. With your insurance deductible most likely met for the year, you’re less likely to notice strange charges and billing statements; if you do notice these things, scammers hope you’re too busy to handle it right away. That could be why the ITRC call center often receives an uptick in calls about medical identity theft in the weeks after New Years.

Visitors in the home – At this time of year, your house may see more traffic from friends or relatives that you don’t always spend a lot of time with. That means any personal papers, mail, and documents—or even your computer or network—could fall into the wrong hands if someone is desperate enough to steal your identity or use your accounts. Knowing how to handle identity theft, especially if it’s committed by someone you know, is important to minimizing the damage while trying to keep your relationships intact.

To download the IDTheftHelp App for iOS or Android, visit the app store for more information. Knowing help is there when you need it is just one small way to make your holidays brighter and merrier!