With the holiday season upon us, be especially careful when using your credit cards in retail stores and online, to guard against identity theft. A few things to remember as you shop:
- Credit cards are safer than your debit card. Losses due to fraud on your debit card may not be covered by your bank, whereas credit card losses due to fraud are almost always covered. Check with your bank.
- When shopping online, make sure the site is secure, by looking either for the closed lock icon or https:// in the web page address line. Don’t use your credit card on an “open lock icon” or a site that has an https:// address without the ‘s’.
- When shopping online, don’t use a public Wi-Fi such as Starbucks or McDonalds, as these connections can be easily hacked even if you think you’re on a secure web site.
- Don’t let the store clerk walk away with your credit card. He/she should scan it and hand it right back to you. Better yet, scan it yourself if you have that option.
- Restaurants usually have cash register stations in sight, so keep an eye on your wait staff. If they wander away with your card, mention it to the manager.
- Keep all of your receipts secure and separate from your shopping bags, and ask if they can also be emailed to you; most stores now have this option. You can easily set up a separate email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org so you aren’t cluttering up your primary email account unnecessarily.
- Keep purses, wallets, cell phones, etc. close and secure. While it’s not highly technical, purse snatching and pick-pocketing is still a crime in today’s world.
- Park as close to the door of the store you are visiting as possible. Be aware when exiting your car, exiting the store, walking to your car. Thieves are looking for easy targets. Don’t be one.
There’s only one of you….. Don’t let anyone steal your identity.