'Tis The Season: Keep An Eye On Your Credit Cards And Budgets While Shopping
Protect your identity and pocketbook, whether you are in-line or on-line
- In-line? 5 Tips to Keep Your ID Safe in Public - On-line? 5 Tips to Keep Your ID Safe Online - ID Theft Victim? 3 Contacts You Need to Make
FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich., Nov. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This holiday season will have the traditional masses of shoppers taking to area malls and stores, while many will opt to shop online from their couch. Whichever way you choose to shop, GreenPath Debt Solutions, a nationwide, nonprofit credit counseling and education organization, wants to remind shoppers that identity thieves could be lurking, waiting for a slip-up and an opportunity to steal their identity."Technology today goes well beyond pick pocketing or taking a purse," said Katie Moore , GreenPath Debt Solutions counselor. "Identity thieves have so much technology at their fingertips to steal credit card numbers and build a personal profile on an individual. If you let your guard down, even for a moment, you could have your identity stolen." 5 TIPS – KEEPING YOUR ID SAFE IN PUBLIC GreenPath provides 5 quick tips for consumers on protecting their identity this holiday season and throughout the year:
- Before you leave your house, take out the credit cards that you know you will not be using.
- Copy the front and back information on your card , so you have contact information quickly in case your card is stolen.
- Do not carry your Social Security card with you . That number is vital in opening new credit accounts.
- Watch where you leave your card when you shop . "Don't leave your credit card on the counter with people around," said Moore. "A simple click of a camera phone or good memory can capture your name, card number and expiration date." A thief can then use that number instantly to buy goods online.
- Keep your receipts in your purse or wallet, not in the bag. This will make it easier to track your merchandise spending and help you to stay within your budget.
- Always initiate the transaction yourself. Do not open a store's website through a received email. Physically type in the web address of the outlet and look around carefully to make sure it is the actual website.
- When entering credit card information as part of transaction, make sure the web address starts with a secure extension, shown as https:// .
- If you shop online in a public location, like at a library, make sure you log out and click the "back" button, when you are finished with a shopping session.
- Shopping at the coffee house? Use their approved, secure wi-fi server.
- Use your credit card wisely when shopping online. The added convenience of shopping from your couch might cause you to drop your guard. Be aware of your online surroundings at all times.
- Contact the three credit bureaus and tell them that you have been a victim of identity theft. Equifax fraud division 800-525-6285 www.fraudalerts.equifax.com Experian fraud division 888-397-3742 www.experian.com/fraud Trans Union fraud division 800-680-7289 www.transunion.com
- Contact your creditors directly and ask to speak to someone in the security department. Freeze the existing account.
- Contact local law enforcement and get a police report. This will serve as documentation that a crime has occurred.
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