The All Points Blog

20 November 2017

Protecting your identity during the holidays

4 Steps to take to safeguard your personal information

The holiday season is the happiest time of the year, but it’s also often the busiest time! Between purchasing gifts for friends and family to traveling and attending and hosting gatherings, it’s hard to focus on guarding your personal and financial information information. This distraction is exactly what thieves are counting on, giving them a chance to swipe your credit card number or hack into your bank account. To ensure you don’t fall victim, make sure you take the following steps while shopping and celebrating:

#1 Choose credit, not debit

Although you may prefer to use your debit card, experts recommend that you use credit whenever possible. Credit cards, although hackable, are more easily resolved and detected. And if you’ve ever experienced the inconvenience of having your debit card hacked, you know that it can take days to weeks to get your money back, which can put a real strain on your day-to-day spending.

#2 Shop safely online

Cloned and knock-off sites are one of the most common ways that thieves can access your credit or debit card numbers and steal your personal information. Always be sure you’re on a legitimate site and if you’re able, shop on sites that you’re familiar with. Make sure you’re only shopping on a computer or mobile device that belongs to you and is secure—it’s all too easy for unscrupulous folks to log onto a public computer and access the browsing history of those that used it before them. If you can, avoid public Wi-Fi for all your holiday shopping.

#3 Keep an eye out for skimmers

Skimmers are becoming more and more prevalent in our digital society. When filling up your tank or getting cash out of an ATM, be sure to look for devices hidden under the card reader, skimmers can copy your card information, giving crooks the opportunity to replicate it and make unauthorized purchased or withdrawals. 

#4 Check your bank account often

Be sure to go online and check your bank accounts, if not daily, at least every few days. Doing this will allow you to catch any transactions that were not yours, and it’s not uncommon for hackers to make a small purchase after stealing your information, as a test to see if they get caught. If the transaction goes through undetected, they know they can go in later and take even more money from you. If you do spot something suspicious, report it right away, even if it’s just a few dollars.

Although it’s frustrating to have to take extra steps during the holidays, especially when you’re trying to enjoy special times with family and loved ones, it’s important to follow these steps to protect yourself.

Remember that identity thieves prey on people who are busy and distracted—and will even stoop to rummaging through your garbage to get your information. Be sure you’re shredding unneeded documents on a regular basis rather than throwing them in your trash, including outdated bank statements, credit card bills and other paperwork that contains confidential information.

All Points Mobile Shredding offers residential and commercial document shredding services, both onsite and offsite for your convenience. Call us at 772.283.4152 to find out more.