The holidays are a busy time of year for customers, employees and — identity thieves. Your customers and employees have a lot on their minds this season, but you can remind them that you’re invested in their safety by sharing identity theft protection tips with them.
Our free white paper “Identity Theft and the Holiday Season”, co-authored with the Identity Theft Resource Center, explains why this time of year is particularly risky and shares a number of identity protection tips your customers and employees should keep in mind this season.
When shopping for the holidays:
- Enable fraud alerts from your financial institutions in order to stay on top of suspicious activity.
- Check for an HTTPS security designation on websites before entering any personal or financial details.
- Monitor all statements thoroughly for signs of unauthorized activity, and log into online banking and credit card accounts periodically to look for errors or fraud.
- Use credit cards instead of debit cards since they often offer more fraud protection.
When traveling for the holidays:
- Limit your use of public Wi-Fi as much as possible. While these networks are incredibly convenient, very often they are unsecure. Never access your financial account or any other sites that require a password when using public Wi-Fi.
- Be cautious when using ATMs. Inspect the machine carefully before inserting your card. Fraudsters can attach card skimmers to the slot that capture your information when you insert it; very often, these look like they are part of the machine. Also, always shield the keypad when entering your PIN – scammers can also set up hidden video recorders. The safest ATMs to use are attached to banks in well-lit areas.
- Lock up valuable documents and items in the hotel. If you do not need your passport, credit cards or valuables, make sure they are locked in the hotel safe.
- Keep phones password-protected. If you’re not the type of person to keep a password guard on your phone, make an exception while traveling.
People should also be on the lookout for telephone and email scams that capitalize on consumers’ charitable inclinations during the holidays. Scammers use fraudulent organizations with familiar sounding names to request donations. Anyone receiving a call should always feel comfortable asking for more information, requesting verification in writing, or simply saying “no.”
For further information on identity theft risks and prevention tips, we invite you, your customers, and employees to register for our free “Identity Theft and the Holiday Season” webinar on Tuesday, November 15, at 2 pm EST; featuring Eva Velasquez of the ITRC and Lisa Schifferle, an attorney from the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer Education.
Being proactive is one of the best ways to minimize the risk of identity theft. For more information on how you can keep your customers or employees safe with comprehensive identity monitoring, sign up for updates from Iris.