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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Protect Your Identity During Game Time Festivities

The "Big Game" is much more than just a game — it's the main event of a nearly week-long string of festivities that take place in a new host city every year. For Super Bowl XLVII, New Orleans, a location already known for its nightlife and party atmosphere, not only will there be the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers visiting for the big game, but also thousands of rowdy football fans.

While there will surely be parties throughout the city leading up to the game on Sunday, the whole country will be celebrating the big day. If you are attending the game in New Orleans yourself, or you received an invitation to a party close to home, there are a number of precautions you should take before showing up to help keep your identity safe.

Thieves target vulnerable individuals lost in a crowd
Anytime there are large crowds gathered for a major sporting event it is more difficult to keep track of your surroundings and, therefore, to protect your belongings. Whether you are at a friend's house or out at a bar for the game, try keeping your wallet as empty as possible. While you may need your ID to get into a club or a credit card to pay for drinks, it's a smart idea not to carry other forms of identification or your debit card if you don't absolutely have to.

Why is a thief interested in your ID?
If a thief gets a hold of your debit card, they may use it to drain all of the funds in your checking account. Unlike most credit providers, banks are less lenient when it comes to reporting a fraudulent purchase, only giving an account holder 30 days to report an identity theft or credit incident and fight to have the money reimbursed. A credit provider, on the other hand, usually gives individuals 90 days or so to report a theft, and the money spent by the thief won't actually be deducted from a bank account but just the line of credit.

Bringing your SSN to the party could invite trouble
Should a thief steal a piece of your identification, it may provide them with just enough information to help them open up accounts under your name. A Social Security number is one example of prized private info that an identity thief finds extremely valuable, as they can use it to fill out applications and increase their odds of opening up new lines of credit, leaving you to handle the bill.

Do yourself a favor and keep the personal materials you have on your person concealed throughout Game Day. For women, that means you should avoid wearing purses, as these are easy for thieves to snatch. Likewise, men should keep their wallets as thin as possible so that if it does get stolen, the amount of damage done is minimized.