Leading up to Christmas, the last thing you want to happen to you and your loved ones is to become the victim of identity theft. This is especially true for military families, as this is the time of year when our service members who have risked it all for their country are able to spend time with their loved ones. If a thief is able to take advantage of the sensitive personal and financial information required to open up accounts in your name and you are in the armed forces, you may not be able to finance expenses, like gifts, that you save up all year for.
During the holidays, you are just as likely to become a victim of ID theft whether you are shopping online or hitting up the mall. According to a study conducted by online marketing information and privacy companies TNS and TRUSTe, 58 percent of those polled claimed that they would reduce their spending online this year to prevent theft of identity. However, the same information that is at risk when you pay with your credit card online can be taken right out of your wallet when you are waiting in line at a cash register.
A recent American Express study found that even though 77 percent of the respondents claim they are taking extra steps to get protection from identity theft, nearly half of them still keep their Social Security card in their wallet – a sensitive document that is like gold to thieves.
When you go shopping, leave items like your Social Security card at home in a safe and secure location. Only bring as much money as you need to pay for all of your items, and don’t bring credit or debit cards that you simply won’t use.