TEMPE, Ariz., Oct. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- LifeLock, Inc. ( www.lifelock.com ), an industry leader in proactive identity theft protection, offers some simple security tips to follow this season. The holidays are a time for gathering together with family, friends and shoppers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), average shoppers will spend more in 2012 than 2011 at an average of $749.51 per person. Stores are looking to profit big this season; in fact the NRF is forecasting sales to be over half a trillion dollars. This holiday season, identity thieves may also be looking to cash in big. With a higher volume of consumers shopping online and applying for credit during the holiday season, there's an increase in potential opportunities for criminals to intercept private information and steal an individual's identity. Shop smarter this season by following these simple steps:
- "S" is for Santa AND Security –During the holidays, when it comes time to insert your personal information for online shopping (for example, name, address, and phone or credit card number), make sure that the URL on the site begins with https:// . The "s" lets you know that your information is encrypted during the transmission.
- Credit vs. Debit – It is safer for consumers to shop online with a credit card rather than a debit card. If a thief compromises your debit card, you must notify your financial institution within 30 business days and you could be responsible for the full amount. Also consider using prepaid gift cards this holiday shopping season -- you can load the dollar amount you want to spend and limit the amount of funds that could be be compromised.
- Beat Scrooge at his own game – Be smarter than identity thieves by typing in the address of the website you want to visit rather than clicking through a pop-up window or a hyperlink within an email or other advertisement. Identity thieves will try to route you to websites that "look and feel" like your destination site when in fact it is fraudulent and simply designed to capture your personal information, including your payment information.
- Swipe in Style - Don't swipe your payment card yourself at the checkout; instead, hand it over to the cashier to run through on the register. Identity thieves are compromising point of sale terminals and capturing your personal information. Handing it over to the store associate to run through the register can limit your vulnerability to a point of sale compromise.
Being a smart shopper isn't just limited to detecting great sale prices. It also means being smart about how and when personal information is provided. "Online purchasing remains the No. 1 means of information misuse at 41%" says Jim Van Dyke, President and Founder of Javelin Strategy & Research. "When we take smarter steps to protecting individuals by giving them better tools, to protect access to private data and help them detect fraud more effectively, we'll put a serious dent in identity fraud."
Vigilance is key among all the security recommendations provided. Consumers with enhanced awareness of the threats have a better chance of protection and/or early detection. Unfortunately, not all identity theft can be prevented and it is important to review bank statements promptly online or at the end of each month. If suspicious activity is found, always notify the financial institution and file a police report.