Whether you’re planning to shop online, tackling the stores for Christmas shopping, or just enjoying an evening out, taking a few extra steps to protect yourself and your identity this holiday season isn’t only smart, it’s easy.

Criminals love distracting environments and the holiday season provides just that, with bustling crowds, bright displays, and enticing store sales. While you’re out enjoying yourself, identity theft probably isn’t on the top of your mind, either. However, a distracted shopper or tourist provides an easy target for pick-pocketing, theft, or other types of crime. You can protect yourself by taking a few simple precautions while Christmas shopping.  

When You’re Out and About:

  • Limit Exposure: Avoid attracting attention to yourself by not carrying around large amounts of cash. If you do not have access to a credit or debit card, consider purchasing a pre-paid debit card. You have the ability to register these cards and cancel them instantly should you lose it or if it is stolen.
  • Save Receipts: People don’t usually suspect a store employee will rip them off. However, it’s not unheard of. In fact, a great deal of fraud occurs when you give other people your debit or credit card, such as at restaurants, or anywhere your card doesn’t stay within sight. Save and carefully review your receipts.
  • Be on Guard: Take out your keys before you head to your car, look around your car before you get in, and always park in a well-lit area.

When Online:

  • Know Where You’re Christmas Shopping: Never make purchases over the phone or through a website which you do not trust or know. Look for the “lock” icon on the address bar when making purchases online. The web address should also begin with “https” instead of “http”. Be very careful with social media ads and sponsored content. If you see a crazy deal on brand name merchandise, don’t click on the ad. Simply go right to that retailer’s website.
  • Use Virus Software: Before purchasing anything online or disclosing personal information, ensure that your firewall is turned on and that your virus protection software is up to date. Most virus software will alert you if you are trying to visit a known malicious website.

We’re Here to Help!

Be safe. Whether you’re out and about or shopping online, remain aware. Pause before clicking that ad, look around at stores, and always safeguard your personal information.

If you have any questions or suspect fraud on your account, we’re always here to help. Please call, chat, or stop in!