As Halloween arrives tomorrow, the holidays are going to arrive fast and furious this year. Are you prepared to protect your identity during the shopping season? Most are not. People get involved with shopping lists, family politics, work parties, and school events and concerts for the kids. Identity protection seems to be the last item of concern on a long holiday 'to do' list. So, as we head into November this weekend, please remember to turn your clocks back an hour on Saturday and take the following identity protection tips into consideration.
1. If someone bumps into you, don't assume it was an accident. Clutch your purse close to your side or in front of you, and keep your wallet hidden at the bottom, or for men, in an inside coat pocket.
2. Don't let your credit card out of your sight. Unscrupulous clerks or waiters can skim the information from your card into a second machine and later make a new credit card for themselves. Worse yet, they can sell your information to an organized crime ring.
3. Lighten your wallet. Remove anything from your wallet that you don't absolutely need to have with you. That way, if someone is successful in stealing it, they won't get as much. And 'no', you don't need your social security card in your wallet!
4. Consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. Such services alert you via email anytime there is an inquiry or other activity to your credit report.
5. Be safe when shopping online. Criminals can make dummy websites look like the real thing. Make sure that the website you are shopping on is the company's real website. If you have any doubt, conduct a new browser search and contact the company to verify. Also make sure that any website you make purchases on is secure. Secure websites will have "https" instead of "http" in the website URL.
I'm going to skip a blog tomorrow and celebrate Halloween with my dedicated office staff!
I'll be back with everyone on Monday. Until then, have a safe and happy Halloween holiday.
Twyla N. Garrett