Perspectives

5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft During the Holidays

The holiday shopping season is ramping up again. And with billions of dollars about to change hands between consumers and retailers, criminals and fraudsters are preparing their scams.

The holiday season is typically the peak period for scams each year, especially as more shoppers use their computers and mobile devices to make purchases. Occasionally, there are new scams, but more often than not, similar variations are used each season.

This year, Vantage added a Consumer Security Education page to our website to help members stay current with industry news. We encourage all members to take a peek at the page when they have a few minutes. It’s updated regularly and can be a great resource.

Thankfully, there are steps everyone can take to protect their information and their bank accounts. Follow the points below and do your own research to stay aware of scams and avoid fraud.

5 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

  1. Familiarize yourself with social engineering tactics and how to spot scam attempts. These can be phone calls, phishing emails, and texts attempting to trick you into handing over valuable information. Common scenarios include:
a. Asking you to confirm account information.
b. Fake holiday party invites to collect emails and other personal details.
c. Fake order confirmations that attempt to lure someone into clicking on a document or link.
d. Fake charities asking for donations.
e. Fake holiday giveaways, deals, and apps for mobile phones.
  1. When making online purchases, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards can limit your monetary exposure due to typically lower limits.
  1. Use two-factor authentication for your online shopping. Amazon and many others offer this and it is another layer of security you can add to your purchases.
  1. Avoid free public WiFi hot spots. Hackers love to lurk on these free networks sniffing for passwords. Never log into a bank account or enter information you don’t want someone else having access to while using a public WiFi network.
  1. Use unique passwords for each website. Hackers love to try guessing usernames for other websites once they obtain a password to one. Passwords can be a chore to manage, but there are several password vault apps that can help.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of identity theft or fraud? How did they overcome it?