Six More Security Tips to Protect Your Identity and Money from Holiday Shopping Scams
Shoppers must beware of holiday shopping scams. To better protect your identity and money this holiday season, here are six things you can do to keep the cheer. If you missed part 1 or part 2 of our series, here are the links.
Buy gift cards from a trusted source –
The Retail Gift Card Association suggests that you only buy gift cards from sources you trust and brands you know, even more so when purchasing gift cards online. Are you buying a gift card in-store? Check the card to see if the wrapping has been torn or revealed the PIN. Pick a different card if the gift card looks suspicious. If the gift card is digital, store it in an online account or mobile wallet that requires a password. Use your gift card as soon as possible to avoid loss or theft, or register the gift card and change the PIN.
Securely deliver gifts –
It’s a smart idea to have packages sent to a safe place. You can send them to your work or ask a neighbor to watch for deliveries if you are not home. To ensure correct delivery, think about requiring a signature. If available, another option would be to pick up your package at a nearby store or mail center. Sending a gift card by mail? be sure to use a method that lets you track where it has been. If sending an e-gift card, use a password method to keep it safe.
Open ecards only if you know who the sender is –
The Better Business Bureau offers advice on distinguishing a friendly ecard from a scam. Check to see if the sender’s name is visible, be extremely cautious if you are required to enter personal information to access the card, and do not click on suspicious emails, especially those with an attachment that ends in “.exe,” which could download a virus.
Make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date on all devices –
Make sure your computer, tablet, and smartphone have a firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software on them. You should check for and install the most recent updates, and you should run virus scans every so often.
Check your online statements –
Make sure you keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages and compare them to your bank statements to make sure they match. However, if there is a discrepancy, report it right away. Check your credit card, debit card, and checking account statement online often during the holidays to see if any charges are not yours.
What to Do in Case of Suspected Fraud
If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud or theft, report it immediately to your bank or credit institution as well as to the proper authorities to minimize your losses and begin working toward a resolution.
- File a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- Report the incident to your local police.
- Report suspected identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission on their website IdentityTheft.gov