Holiday Season – The perfect time to steal someone’s identity
November 28th, 2012
By JoEllen Barton, Chief Information Security Officer, SecurShred
Holidays should be a time filled with family, friends, good food and the joy of giving. Unfortunately for some it is also the best time to have their identity stolen. According to the Federal Trade Commission someone has their identity stolen every 3.2 seconds.
SecurShred has put together a small list of things to watch out for this holiday season.
Cellphones and Mobile Devices
Take care of your items when you are shopping. Crowded stores and malls are the perfect place for someone to lose their cell phone or mobile device. With the hustle and bustle around you it is easy to become side tracked or over whelmed with the crowds. Put your phone away until you are done shopping or away from people. It is very easy to put your phone down while you are shopping to pick up a last minute item, leave it in a dressing room or at a register while checking out. Make sure your phone is password protected. Password protecting your phone can be a deterrent to a thief. Sometimes just having that one extra step on your phone or mobile device is the key to stopping a thief from stealing your identity and phone’s data.
Make sure to keep your receipts in one place or area. It is easy for a receipt to be swiped from a counter top, a bag or get blown out of a car from a gust of wind into the parking lot. Keeping them in a central location will also help with finding them when you get to the gift wrapping stage. Shred old receipts instead of shoe boxing them or tossing them. This is the best way to make sure your information is safe. You certainly don’t want anyone going through your trash and finding them. Even in New England we are not safe from dumpster and curb divers.
Credit Card/Debit Card Security
Due diligence is the key to keeping a tab on your information. Check your accounts frequently. In this data age we are able to log onto a computer from just about anywhere and check our account balances and transactions. Keeping an eye on your account could save you from a hacker or thief from taking over your account. Make sure to always use networks that require a network security key or certificate. The web address should start with https:// indicating it is a secure site. Use a card with a small limit when making online purchases. This limits the amount of damage a thief can do should they steal your information. Immediately contact your financial institution when you realize your card is compromised. If asked to run as a Debit card or a Credit Card choose Credit as this gives you the most legal protection in the case that the goods are misrepresented or never delivered.
Beware of scams
Phishing email scams and fake contests run ramped this time of year. If you do not know who the sender of an email is do not open it. This will help you avoid fake, illegitimate emails that may seem real but are simply not. If entering contests do so from sites that you know/shop or visit frequently. Avoid sending any personal information in an email or message.
If you or your company could use a comprehensive plan to keep your data and information safe before and after the holidays, SecurShred is a AAA NAID certified information destruction company that goes beyond simply shredding. Contact SecurShred at www.securshred.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 877-863-3003 x2.