The holidays are almost here, but your festive fun can come to a screeching halt if you don’t take extra precaution to protect yourself from fraud. These simple tips will help you avoid theft, whether you’re running holiday errands, shopping online for gifts, or out socializing for the season.
7 Tips to Prevent Identity Fraud
1) Lighten Your Wallet — Be smart about what’s in your wallet while you’re holiday shopping. Leave the personal info you don’t need at home and take only the credit cards you plan to use. If you do lose your wallet or purse—or it gets stolen—you’ll have less to worry about.
2) Only shop Secure Sites — Cyber Monday deals are great and can save you a lot of money. Make sure you’re shopping on a safe site by taking a look at the website URL. If it begins with “https” instead of “http,” the site is using an SSL Certificate and you should be in good shape. If you don’t see “https,” shop elsewhere.
3) Be Aware — When making an ATM transaction or sharing personal information over the phone, make sure you’re in a secure space where no one can snap a picture or overhear your conversation. And never provide personal information to unknown callers over the phone. If you’re unsure about their identity, don’t hesitate to ask for their number and call them back once you’ve confirmed the source of the call.
4) Monitor Your Credit Activity – Keep tabs on activity that impacts your credit report and ensure it’s accurate. Credit Karma is a free service that provides bureau alerts that flag changes that could indicate fraud, such as opening a new account or a change of address.
5) Guard Your Social Security Number — Never take chances with your Social Security number. Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet and remove the number from all checks and any documents you carry around. Shred any mail or papers that might have your SSN on it.
6) Keep a close eye on balances — Take time every few days to check your accounts for fraudulent charges. Banks and credit card companies have safeguards in place to catch potential fraud, but only you will recognize every transaction.
7) Keep Tabs On Your Mailbox — Checking your mail daily is a must, not only for the cute holiday cards, but also for your security. During this time of year, identity thieves will target mailboxes for personal information or pre-approved credit offers. Package theft from the front porch or doorstep is also on the rise. You can prevent theft by actively checking your mailbox, requiring a signature on delivery and having packages sent to your workplace or a secure location. If you’re mailing sensitive information, don’t leave it sitting in an unsecure mailbox. Take it straight to the post office or drop it in a postal box.
Don’t let fraud ruin your holiday cheer. Stay safe with these tips, so your only holiday surprise comes wrapped in a box. If you suspect any of your Stanford FCU accounts have been compromised, please contact us at 888.723.7328.