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The Resource Center Identity Theft & Protection | article

Santa Claus Doesn’t Hold Raffles, So Be Wary When Entering to Win Prizes

If you have a larger family, you probably understand that getting gifts for the whole crew can be a difficult, and not to mention expensive, feat to accomplish. Because of the trials and tribulations that you as a shopper face in what should be the most wonderful time of the year, you may be tempted to take part in raffles and giveaways that promise to knock a few items off your Christmas list. In reality, many of these contests won’t help you fund holiday joy but actually hurt your finances in the long run.

Since the odds are very much against you, avoid giveaways and raffles altogether
Should you sign up for a raffle at the mall or online, there are a number of potential dangers that could lead to identity theft. Many contests and raffles are legitimate and may, however slight the odds, result in handsome prizes for a lucky few. But more often than not, given the slim chances that you’ll actually win cash or a gift, it’s better to avoid participating in these kinds of activities in general.

No legitimate contest will ask you for your Social Security number (SSN)
A red flag that you should be wary of is how much information you have to hand over to enter into a raffle. Personal Identification Information (PII) like your SSN and date of birth should generally stay private and should not be handed over in such a casual setting. If a contest requires that you provide any such PII, there’s a good chance that they are collecting it with no intention of helping you out.

Avoid making your “PII” available for a thief
If this information falls into the wrong hands, you may end up having your identity stolen, resulting in serious harm to your credit score. You need your SSN to sign up for new lines of credit and other accounts, so should a thief looking to cash in on your good name have this info they can use it to commit fraud.

Protect your good name and keep an eye on your credit report throughout the holiday season. A credit monitoring company can help you by alerting you to any strange activity that may be taking place using your PII. This is probably one of the worst times of year to face financial hardships, so don’t let desperation regarding buying gifts for loved ones get you into even more financial hardships.

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