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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Pursue Identity Theft Protection During the Holiday Season

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but there are a number of grinches out there who are on the prowl to ruin your holiday by committing identity theft. Here are 10 tips you should follow throughout the month to make sure your holidays aren’t derailed because your personal identification information was compromised.

  1. Hold on tight to your wallet when you hit up the malls this year, keeping it in your front pocket or holding on tight to your purse.
  2. Make sure any online shopping you do is on an encrypted connection so that your personal information is shielded from prying eyes.
  3. If you have big travel plans or are looking to make large purchases, don’t advertise it. If you’ve seen the holiday classic “Home Alone,” you understand what could happen if the wrong guys know your whereabouts.
  4. ID theft can occur through dumpster diving too, so make sure you thoroughly destroy documents (bank statements and receipts, for example) that have your personal information on them.
  5. Be positive you can trust any online retailer 100 percent before handing over banking or credit information.
  6. Pre-approved credit card mail can be a big ego boost, but also make identity theft easy for opportunistic mail thieves. It’s best to simply opt out of these mailing lists.
  7. Don’t let packages or parcels sit outside your house if you aren’t home to collect them, as any passerby could easily snatch them up.
  8. Only open emails from sources that you can verify. Otherwise, you could be exposing your computer to a virus.
  9. Possibly look into a credit monitoring service or order copies of your three reports to inspect before the holiday.
  10. During this time of year, no matter how enticing they may sound, avoid entering online contests – they are more than likely scams.