Holiday Shopping and Identity Theft
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Holiday Shopping and Identity Theft

Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 at 4:13 pm
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Holiday Shopping

Holiday Shopping

One of the downsides of holiday shopping is the fact that it is can also be a free for all for thieves looking to steal your money and your identity. Stolen wallets happen most often in the months of November and December, and your identity can even be easily stolen without your wallet. Here are some tips to help keep you and your wallet safe this holiday shopping season.

Shop Online

With modern security systems in place, the risk of having your money and identity stolen while shopping online is low. You are more likely to be a victim of a thief when you shop in a retail store. Shopping online is one way to avoid getting taken, while still getting the deals. That said, there are still a few things to keep in mind.

  • Shop only at legitimate online stores that you are familiar with
  • Before entering any credit card or personal information, look first for the security lock on the page. The URl should start with https (s means secure)
  • Be wary of spam from outside sources that requests you to email your password or personal information. Call customer service if you are unsure.

Shield Your Information

The other day I caught myself. As I was waiting for the cashier to total my purchases, I had my wallet open and my credit card in hand. My name and numbers could be easily read and memorized or copied by a trained thief. it could also have been captured with a cell phone camera. This is called shoulder surfing and is one way that thieves get your information.

Make sure your shield the keypad when entering your pin number, and shield your check information as well.

Clean Out Your Wallet

To minimize the damage if your wallet or purse is stolen, first do a clean sweep of it before you shop. Remove anything that you will not be using, such as extra credit cards or identification. Consider pulling out only a few checks instead of bringing the whole checkbook, and don’t ever have anything with your social security number printed on it.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.