Identity thieves love this time of year. There is a lot more data floating around and they know consumers are focused on other activities and don't have identity protection top of mind.
Chantilly, VA (PRWEB) November 28, 2012
Now that the holiday shopping season has officially begun, consumers need to be aware that identity theft spikes this time of year and know what they can do to help protect themselves from becoming a victim. Intersections Inc.(Nasdaq: INTX), a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity theft risk management services and provider of the award winning identity theft protection service, IDENTITY GUARD® Platinum, wants consumers to be aware of the risks of identity theft and offers tips and advice on the steps they can take to help protect themselves during the rush of the holiday shopping season.
“The holidays are an exciting time of year – decorating the house, shopping for the perfect gift, making plans for holiday gatherings, and planning travel. With so much focus on the holidays, consumers often forget about protecting their identities,” said Steve Schwartz, President, Partner Services at Intersections Inc. “Identity thieves love this time of year. There is a lot more data floating around and they know consumers are focused on other activities and don’t have identity protection top of mind.”
The National Retail Federation is forecasting the average holiday shopper will spend approximately $750 on gifts, greeting cards, decorations, and more this holiday season, and estimate 52 percent of U.S. consumers will do their shopping online. With the increase in phishing scams and skimming devices as methods to steal one’s identity, consumers need to remain vigilant as they complete their purchases during this time of year.
“Intersections Inc. is dedicated to educating consumers on the prevalence of identity theft and the steps they can take to help protect themselves. We have put together this list of valuable tips and advice for all consumers to use; whether shopping online or in stores during the holiday season and year round,” said Schwartz.
1. Beware of phishing scams and protect your computer from online threats. Cybercriminals are aware of the increase in Internet usage during the holidays and will try to use this to their advantage to lure in victims. Never open an email from an unknown sender and avoid downloading file attachments and clicking on embedded links in spam email. Be sure your anti-malware software is up-to-date and that you have the latest spam filtering software.
2. Keep a watchful eye on your deliveries. Believe it or not, this time of year is a haven for thieves who follow delivery trucks with the intent of stealing packages before a recipient ever has the chance to retrieve them. Packages containing personal information, account numbers, or even personal checks can lead to identity theft if they fall into the wrong hands. Take advantage of the signature required option offered by most delivery companies.
3. Practice safe shopping online. With 52 percent of consumers expecting to do their shopping online this year, identity thieves are going to do their part in trying to take advantage of unsuspecting online customers. When shopping online, verify the website is safe by checking for the “s” in the website address and look for the closed padlock symbol in the bottom of the screen which indicates a secure connection. In addition, a tool like IDVault® securely stores and enters user log-in data and verifies the IP address of the site you are logging into to make sure it’s legitimate.
4. Use wireless Internet connections with caution. The deluge of smartphones, apps, and tablets have made it easier for consumers to shop “on the go”. Most Wi-Fi networks are not secure and sensitive information such as credit card numbers can be intercepted during transmission if unencrypted. Avoid making purchases over public Wi-Fi networks and consider downloading security software to help protect your device from hackers. And never access your banking information through public Wi-Fi. Instead, use your carrier’s cellular service.
5. Save yourself some time and rely on the professionals to monitor your information. Sure, there are things you can do to keep an eye on your identity during the holidays, like monitoring your bank statements and getting a copy of your credit report but who has the time and doing these tasks alone won’t alert you to every type of identity theft. Consider enrolling in a service like IDENTITY GUARD® Platinum that proactively monitors your personal and financial information to help you stay aware and alert.
Along with holiday shopping tips, Intersections Inc. reminds consumers that protecting yourself and your personal information this holiday season should always be a top priority.
Please visit our resource center, http://resources.identityguard.com/, for more tips and advice.
Intersections Inc. (NASDAQ: INTX) is a leading provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services. Intersections provides various levels of service to more than 8.2 million consumers. Those services are offered through North America's leading financial institutions, directly to consumers under Intersections' award-winning IDENTITY GUARD® brand (http://www.identityguard.com), and through the company's exclusive partnership with ITAC, the Identity Theft Assistance Center. Since 1996, Intersections has protected the identities of more than 35 million consumers.