Holiday Red Alert: Consumers More Vulnerable to ID Theft During Holiday Season

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AllClear ID Offers Top 6 Tips for Protecting Your Identity While You Shop

For many consumers, the swipe of a credit card and the cha-ching of a cash register officially rings in the holiday season. It is important, however, for consumers to remain vigilant while shopping to ensure they don’t put themselves at undue risk for identity theft.

“We want consumers to be safe when shopping online and in stores this holiday season,” says Jamie May, Chief Investigator at AllClear ID. “With all of the commotion this time of year, it’s easy to let your guard down, not only in a hectic store but when making online purchases as well.”

In order to make sure your money is safe this holiday season, AllClear ID, the world’s first 100% free essential identity theft protection service for consumers, offers six easy safety tips for in-store and online shopping:

1.    Use credit, not debit when checking out in-stores or online. It’s best to use a credit card over a debit card, because under federal law, you can dispute the charge if you don’t receive the item you purchased. You also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on your credit card.

2.    Say no to store charge card offers. As attractive as store charge card accounts and on-the-spot discounts or coupons may be, consider how busy and distracted the store is at this time of year. Do you trust that the store clerk or cashier will take proper care with the form you just filled out, which lists everything from your address to your Social Security number?

3.    Stick to trustworthy websites for online shopping. Review the seller’s reputation and record for customer satisfaction at the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) website, or look for the BBB seal and other widely-recognized “trust marks” on retailer websites.

4.    If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Thieves can create legitimate looking websites that offer seemingly great deals very quickly; however, these sites often sell counterfeit goods or just collect your personal information to commit fraud. In addition to checking for trust marks, check to see if the site has reviews from other customers on a – that information is difficult to fake.

5.    When donating in lieu of a gift, first verify the charity. Unfortunately, the season of giving also creates opportunity for fraudulent charities. A great tool for verifying charities before you donate is Charity Navigator. You can search by name, type of charity, and location to confirm the group exists, and check how it is rated -- including how the organization spends its money and recent news stories.

6.    Confirm your online purchase is secure. Always look in your Internet browser’s address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner of the screen for the “lock” symbol before entering your credit card information to pay. These indicators tell you that your website connection is secure.

Interested in protecting yourself and your family from identity theft? Stay up to date on the latest threats on the AllClear ID blog and check out additional holiday shopping tips online:

About AllClear ID:
AllClear ID is the world’s first 100% free essential identity theft protection service for consumers. AllClear ID leverages its experts, technology and deep security experience to provide the best consumer identity theft protection products available. AllClear ID offers products including AllClear ID Free, AllClear ID Pro and a free ChildScan for children. AllClear ID is a private company and headquartered in Austin, Texas. For more information, please visit

Lindsay Walsh

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