Offense wins games, but defense wins championships, right?! While we enjoy a bit
of football during the most wonderful time of the year, it seems the best way
to ‘tackle’ the holiday season is to develop a strong defense. So, how will you
defend your identity throughout the holidays?
Here are a few tips to take into consideration:
Clean up your wallet.
Only carry the necessities
with you, such as a driver’s license and one or two forms of payment. Also, if
RFID cards, be sure to invest in an
RFID wallet or card holder… or leave the RFID card at home to protect
electronic pickpocketing. Taking charge of your wallet before you hit
the shopping malls will reduce the extent of damages in case of theft and also
keep you on a budget.
Cash, check or charge?
Cash is always a safe form
of payment and will keep you the most honest to your budget. If you prefer to
write a check, consider using a gel-based pen to make it tougher for thieves to
“wash” your checks. If you plan to pay with a debit or credit card,
it’s important to keep in mind that, in the event of fraudulent charges, your
debit card removes funds immediately and it can be a longer reimbursement
process with the bank than with a credit card company. Last, be prepared to be
offered store credit card incentives at the register of most major retailers.
While it is tempting to enjoy an extra discount, remember that you are required
to disclose your social security number when signing up (whether you’re typing
it into a keypad or writing it in a paper application.) Every time you give out
your social security number, you are at a greater risk of fraud... not to
mention that your credit score will be impacted by the inquiry, establishment
and use of this new line of credit.
Monitor your accounts.
Regularly review your
checking and credit card accounts to ensure all pending and posted charges are
your own. You may also want to consider pulling your credit report ahead of
your holiday shopping to keep a sharp eye on inquiries and established credit
in your name.
Be Wary of Scams.
sister” post went viral on social media promising up to 36 gifts if you
pledged a $10 gift to someone. While it is possible that you may or may not get
anything in return for engaging in this activity, you should know that it could
open a window for identity thieves to prowl on your holiday spirit… not to
mention that, as MSN stated, “it's the social media
version of chain-letter gifting, which can be illegal.”