Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft After the Holidays
The holiday season can be a dangerous one if you are not careful. That's because of the great risk of identity theft that exists during this time of year.
The holiday season can be a dangerous one if you are not careful. That's because of the great risk of identity theft that exists during this time of year. As spending goes in, criminals look to prey on people who are not paying close attention and have left their valuable financial information out in the open.
As the new year comes, so too do new ways to protect yourself from identity theft. Look over some strategies to make sure that you and your family's finances are secure in 2016 and moving forward.
Shop carefully and check past payments
Hopefully when you and your family made all of your expensive purchases during the holiday season - from food to gifts to travel - you did so from secure merchants. This is especially true in terms of online shopping. An article from U.S. News & World Report stated that one of the most common ways identity theft takes place is by customers going to clone websites instead of the actual store site. While the fake site still allows users to review items and make purchases, credit card information is sent to a third-party site before going to the store, meaning criminals have access to that important information.
In order to prevent this in the future, take a close look at the sites on which you are shopping. Identity theft prevention expert Adam Levin noted that secure websites will have a lock symbol on the left edge of the URL, so you can guarantee the store is safe.
After the spending season is over, take careful looks at your receipts and credit card statements. If you see money being spent at a store or business you are unfamiliar with, contact your bank or credit card company to figure out if there's a potential problem.
Use chip cards and mobile payments
Recent changes have impacted who is held responsible if identity theft occurs. No longer will it always be a bank's job to pay back customers who are victims of fraud; now merchants may be accountable if they are not using modern card-processing platforms. Customers are encouraged to use new credit and debit cards with data chips inside, as they are more secure than their plastic-strip predecessors.
Another spending trend that improves safety is the use of mobile payments , the Washington Post reported. Linking your card to a service such as Apple Pay allows you to make purchases with your smartphone. Each mobile payment comes with its own unique transaction code, so you are guaranteed that only the business you are shopping with has access to your bank funds. Additionally, Apple Pay requires fingerprint conformation, meaning thieves can't make purchases on your account if your phone is stolen.
Identity theft can be a scary thing and can ruin the mood of the holiday season. Make sure you're safe by taking these preventive measures moving forward. For more information about keeping finances safe, consult with a professional at Vectra Bank today.