The holidays are here again, but while some of us are stoking cozy fires and sending out Christmas cards to the people we love, others are sharpening their spyware and looking for unsuspecting shoppers to bamboozle out of their credit card information. Identity theft runs hot during the holidays, but you can put digital criminals on ice with this handy guide to keeping your info safe.
Shred Your Documents
A huge proportion of stolen bank and credit card information comes from documentation carelessly tossed into the garbage. If you need to get rid of any papers that might contain sensitive financial information, be sure you run them through the shredder before you send them to the landfill.
Always Check Your Balance
You spend a number of small sums that add up during the holidays, and identity theft can be easier to pull off if you’re not constantly checking what’s going in and out of your bank account. The closer an eye you keep on your bank balance, the trickier it will be for identity thieves to swindle you.
Freeze Your Credit
Freezing your credit involves contacting your credit providers and making it so that no new credit files can be added to your record. You can freeze and unfreeze your credit at will, so what better way to dissuade identity theft for the holidays than engaging with the winter theme and stopping criminals in their tracks?
Protect Your Passwords
Making sure you have strong passwords is one of the best ways to safeguard yourself from identity theft. It’s best to have a different password for every site you use, but if that’s too much trouble at least make sure your passwords have mixed capitalization, numbers and punctuation when possible (and for goodness sake, don’t make “password” your password!).
Keep Your Social Security Number Safe
Identity theft during the holidays can be almost impossible to easily stop if a bandit has gotten access to your social security number. Never carry your social security card on your person, make sure you only give it out to necessary services that are absolutely reputable and keep every piece of documentation with your number on it in a safe, hidden place.
Limit What You Share on Social Media
We all like getting birthday wishes from our Facebook friends, but having the full date of your birthday on your profile might make it easier for identity theft to occur during the holidays, especially if your profile is public. Keep things like your full legal name, childhood information and names of family members up your sleeve as well, as these can often be used to answer security questions.
Make Sure Your Phone is Secure
Many people underestimate just how much of their personal data is available on their phone, and how much of it could be used to exploit and rob them if it fell into the wrong hands. Always make sure access to your phone is protected with a PIN, and have some reliable antivirus software like Avast on hand to mitigate the odds of receiving an unwanted gift of identity theft for the holidays.
All these tips won’t do you any good if you’re not paying active enough attention to put them to proper use. Keeping your eyes open and being ready for anything is going to be the best advantage you have when it comes to making sure identity theft doesn’t happen to you.
Protect Your Finances with Money Ladder
No matter how you’re planning to celebrate the holidays, identity theft can put a dent in the festivities if you aren’t prepared to stop or prevent it. Money Ladder can help you become a financially savvy individual with the help of our Finance 101 course, as well as our teachings of financial psychology that will help you make the right monetary choices now and in the future.
If you’re ready to see how Money Ladder can help bring some holiday cheer to your bank account, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask what we can do for you. Identity theft doesn’t have to be a part of your holiday itinerary when you enlist the help of Money Ladder.