Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season

Living on Credit Cards

Along with holiday cheer, this is a season of a lot of shopping. Gift-giving lends itself to an increase in spending, as do holiday travel and events. With the rise of identity theft, however, shopping this season can be less than joyous if someone gets ahold of your information. The Hanover Insurance Group has help and tips for avoiding identity theft this season, thanks to their release “ID Theft Is On The Rise–Protect Your Identity This Holiday Season.
“As shoppers get excited about holiday gifts and bargains, it’s easy to forget that there are people out there waiting to take advantage of what should be a joyful season,” said Mark Desrochers, president, personal lines insurance at The Hanover. “Because of the emotional and financial impact identity theft can have on an individual and their family, we thought it was important to offer some tips to help avoid identity theft.”

The Hanover offers the following tips to help minimize your risk from ID theft:

  • When paying by credit card:
    • Don’t allow clerks to put your receipts in your bag; carry them in your wallet instead where they are safer and less likely to fall out
    • Watch cashiers, waiters and bartenders, ensuring that they don’t “skim” or save your card number for later use
  • When paying by check:
    • Never allow merchants to write your social security number on the check. In many states, it is illegal
    • Use a gel ink pen—preferably black—to write checks, which will permeate the fibers and make it difficult for the check to be cleaned and reused
  • When shopping online:
    • Be careful of wireless internet connections. Only use those that require a security key or certificate
    • Shop on secure, reputable sites only
    • Never offer personal information, especially your social security number
    • Leave suspicious websites immediately
    • Read customer reviews before ordering
    • Use a credit card and not a debit card, which makes it harder for you to get funds back and gives thieves access to funds in your bank account
  • Avoid carrying a social security card, birth certificate, passport, bank information or paychecks when hitting the stores. Identity thieves find these particularly helpful
  • Check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often, helping to nip in the bud any efforts to use your identity

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As Black Friday approaches, keep these tips in mind to keep your identity safe this season. For more information, visit the release from The Hanover Insurance Group here. From all of us at GradGuard, have a happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays!