Prevent Identity Theft During the Holidays and All Year Long

December 17, 2014

If your home is like most American households, then November, December, and January are likely to be some of the very busiest months of the year. These three months in particular are financially busy times but holiday shopping frequently begins as early as September. As the end of the year approaches you are likely to hear more stories about people experiencing various kinds of identity theft, including financial identity theft. Though this concern is given more attention around the holidays, it is actually a problem that affects people all year long. Here are some powerful strategies to keep yourself and your family safe during this busy time of year.

Create a Safety Plan With Family Members and Relatives

Elderly parents and family members are frequent targets for financial scams. Thieves may call or email grandparents in particular and ask for money on behalf of a young relative in need of emergency assistance. Since students and younger family members may be traveling home from a long distance, various emergencies can actually come up. This is why families should develop a special code word that can be used to authenticate these communications. Share this safety word in person if possible or in another secure manner. Once such a word is created, never be afraid to ask a stranger to use it if they are trying to convince you of a family member’s need.

Get Your Wallet and Purse Organized

No matter whether you carry a wallet, purse, handbag, or personal carry-all, you need to have this organizer cleaned and sorted before holiday shopping begins. Many people stuff all sorts of personal financial documents into these holders and then forget to remove them. That bill you have not mailed, that invoice from your doctor, or that old bank statement can cause significant harm to your family’s financial well-being. Here is how to get organized:

  • Select a bag or wallet that is easy to carry. Heavy bags and large purses make tempting targets for thieves. People tend to carry small bags closer to their bodies and are more unlikely to set them down while sitting or standing. Picking an item you are comfortable carrying will also prevent you from putting it down at any opportunity.
  • Clear out the trash. Discard the junk from your wallet or purse. This way you can more easily see what has been stored and what might be missing if anything is taken.
  • Sort out what you do not need. There are sure to be several items in your purse or wallet that can be safely left behind at home. Take only the payment cards you intend to use as well as any essential identification cards, medical cards, and so forth. Secure the other items at home.

Safeguard Your Cards

Any payment card or identification card with an RFID chip has the potential to be hacked by thieves using electronic scanners. This virtual pickpocketing can be prevented with the use of Stealth Card. This is the same size as any standard payment card and blocks the frequency used by thieves to access your cards. Just place it alongside the rest of the cards you choose to carry this holiday season.

These simple techniques will keep your identity and financial information safe all year long.