This Holiday Season, Shop Safe and Protect Yourself
Prevent Identity Theft During Online and In-Store Shopping
Whether you are planning to spend the upcoming festive season with friends and family, or you are looking at a coastal retreat or a ski resort getaway, holiday shopping will definitely be on the cards. From gifts, lights and decorations, to personal clothing and accessories, you will want to make the most of the attractive deals and bargain offers to maximize your budget.
However, while you are in a frenzy of drawing up shopping lists and comparing best prices, beware of fake companies and scam offers and too-good-to-be-true deals. After all, you don’t want to be a victim of preying fraudsters who can easily put a damper on your bright and cheery festive season. In fact, Nasdaq reports that during the holiday shopping season, identity thefts are at their peak and fraud rates soar by over 200% as compared to the average fraud rate.
Simple Steps to Safe Holiday Shopping
Whether you are scouring through hundreds of online sites to fulfill your holiday wish list within a reasonable budget or you are mall hopping to find great in-store bargains, a few simple steps will go a long way in ensuring that you do not fall prey to frauds.
While Shopping Online
- Look for trusted and secure websites with ‘https’ in the address bar. Be wary of websites where the ‘s’ is missing.
- Check the reviews and credentials of companies that you have not purchased from before. There has been a substantial increase in instances of crooks hosting sham websites that collect payment, but fail to make deliveries of the purchases.
- Ignore third party listings on the websites. If you see a flash banner that advertises something that is too-good-to-be-true, it probably is.
- Use a strong password when you enter your personal information to create an account on the retailer’s website. As far as possible, do not use the same password on multiple websites.
- Avoid making payments when you are connected to an open or public Wi-Fi. It is easier for cyber criminals to intercept information and hack your credit card details.
- Use information masking sites, such as Dashlane, Blur or LastPass, to encrypt your credit card information while making online payments.
- If you are shopping through a mobile device with a small screen, be extra careful and watch out for fishy URLs. Often the scamming websites have addresses that are abbreviated or slightly misspelt to appear like the original retailer’s name.
- Once you have made an online purchase:
- Beware of email messages that claim your package delivery has failed or requires confirmation. Nine of out ten times, this is a scam to collect your personal information, phone numbers, bank account details and other confidential data.
- Check delivery status and other updates by logging into your account on the retailer’s website, instead of relying on the email messages.
- Check your credit card and bank statements to ensure there are no fraudulent debits, over and above your genuine purchases.
While Shopping In-Store
- Carry your wallet, ID, mobile phones and other valuables in the inner jacket pockets or closed handbags to keep them safe from pickpockets.
- Make sure your devices are locked with strong security features that can wipe out your personal data, in case of theft.
- Watch out for any fraudulent card-skimming devices attached to the payment processing machines or ATMs. Do not swipe your card or use the machine if anything seems out of the ordinary.
- Beware of visual hackers who look over your shoulder and watch you enter your PIN number at the checkout counters.
- Be wary of your surroundings when you walk out of the stores and especially in the car parks. Bag snatching incidents are at their peak during the holiday shopping season.
In addition to all the precautions that you take while shopping, securely destroy all paper documents that contain your personal or financial information. This includes store receipts, food bills, junk mail, envelopes of the holiday cards you receive, and the labels of the packages that get delivered to you.
Protect your personal as well as business information at all times and prevent it from falling into the hands of criminals. Destroy unwanted physical and digital information with the help of a professional NAID AAA Certified company such as TITAN Mobile Shredding. Choose from a host of on-site and off-site services, including annual bulk purges monthly community shred events, routine on-site shredding, and destruction of hard drives.
For secure and systematic disposal of documents, rely on TITAN Mobile Shredding. Call us at (866) 848-2699 or contact us online. Our data destruction professionals will help you with a shredding program that suits your needs and budget.