Stay Safe During the Holidays

Thief with crowbar in car window looking at present in front seat

The hectic holiday shopping season means parking lots and stores full of people, which can also bring the increased possibility of theft. Thieves are not just looking to steal newly bought Christmas gifts; they may be out to steal your identity. Consider following these 9 helpful holiday shopping safety tips:

Use cash or credit only.

Compromised debit information puts your money at risk because the card is directly linked to your bank account. Credit cards offer greater consumer protection and less liability than your bankcard.

Clean out your wallet. 

Do not carry excess credit cards. For the cards you do carry, keep a copy of all account numbers and phone numbers in a safe place at home.

Look before you swipe.

Tech-savvy thieves use inconspicuous tools such as skimming devices to steal your card information at ATMs, gas pumps and other pay terminals. Don’t use swipe devices that look out of place. Be sure to shield your PIN number as you enter it or ask the cashier to run your card through the register.

Shop online sites you trust.

Stick with online retailers you recognize and make sure you are at their correct site. Consider setting up a new personal email exclusively for shopping such as Christmastuff2017@.....com. This will help keep unwanted holiday spam out of your personal mailbox.

Shop secure websites.

Before submitting credit card information, make sure the website is secure by looking for “https://” instead of “http://” in front of the web address.

Stay off public Wi-Fi.

Never use public wireless hotspots to do online shopping, banking or any activity that requires passwords or personal information.

Protect your presents and devices by stowing them in the trunk.

A thief can steal your gifts in a matter of seconds, so eliminate the temptation by keeping them out of sight. In addition, you should never keep workbags, computers or other devices in plain sight.

Keep a grip on your valuables.

Make sure your purse is secure in your hand, along with any valuables you may have just bought. Consider carrying a cross-body purse with a thick strap or wearing a coat with internal pockets to keep your hands free. Thieves are always looking for an easy “snatch and grab.”

Use caution on social media.

Be cautious when sharing your holiday plans on social media, especially if you are going to be out of town. It does not take a criminal long to connect the dots and discover where you live.