Protect Your Credit and Identity this Holiday Season
With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to think safety and take some important precautions to protect your financial well-being throughout the holidays and into the New Year. Here are some tips to save your budget, foil pick-pockets, and thwart worrisome cyber thieves.
Budget Saving Ideas
• Base your budget on your holiday savings. If you have to go over that number, try not to put more debt on a credit card than you can pay off in 30 days. When shopping, you’re better off using a debit card online and cash in person. Make a list and assign a dollar amount to each gift. If you have a large family, you may want to discuss the idea of drawing names so each person only has to buy one gift.
• Plan ahead. Start making your list and asking for gift ideas right after Halloween. (It may seem early but it will make your life so much easier.) Take advantage of sale prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For easy comparison shopping, use trusted stores on the Internet and look for free shipping offers.
• Don’t get burned with “hot toys.” If you’re determined to get the little one in your life this season’s hottest toy SHOP EARLY. Otherwise, you just may need to wait until their birthday.
Identity Protection Tips
• Shop with a slim wallet. Remove everything except one credit card and your driver’s license. Carrying multiple credit cards, a passport, and other items increases your risk of identity theft.
• Remind cashiers to check IDs. Write “check photo ID” on the back of your credit or debit card. This is an effective way to get clerks to check credit or debit cards with photo identifications.
• Be observant in the store. Watch out for anyone who may be standing in line behind you with a cell phone, especially a smart phone. They could easily take a photo of the information on your credit or debit card. Look around before you make a purchase.
• Be careful when shopping online. Only shop on websites with the technology to secure your transaction. Secure sites have “https” instead of “http” in the address bar or they may have an icon of a locked padlock. In addition, don’t shop on sites that you don’t recognize, especially if they don’t have a phone number or physical address. They might be part of a phishing scam to get your credit or debit card number.
So keep your holidays safe and happy by planning ahead and shopping carefully. And, if you haven’t done so already, check out our ProtectMyID® Identity Theft Monitoring provided by Experian®. It’s a FREE membership benefit, but you must sign up for it.