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5 Tips for National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month

The holiday season is a time of celebration and goodwill, but it’s also the time of year when identity theft crimes spike. Every December, millions of Americans have their personal and financial information stolen as thieves take advantage of all the opportunities that shopping and, traveling create. That’s why December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. In this blog, we offer five tips for keeping your personal information under wraps during the holidays.

1. Shred Your Paper Documents

When your paper waste increases, so does your identity theft exposure. Trash and recycling bins contain a gold mine of information during the holidays, and thieves dig through them to find treasure. Shred any documents containing personal, financial or medical data. A drop off shredding service offers a secure and convenient method for disposing of household and business records.

2. Choose Credit Over Debit

During the holiday season, you swipe your credit card more than ever. If you don’t use cash, use a credit card instead of a debit card to pay for your purchases. Credit cards offer better fraud protection than debit cards. If your debit card is stolen and thieves drain your bank account, you can lose everything if the loss isn’t reported in 60 days. With a stolen credit card, the most you can be liable for is $50 under federal law.

3. Monitor Your Credit

As you’re buying gifts in December, keep a close eye on your credit. Now is time to request your free annual credit report. You’re entitled to one free credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus.

4. Don’t Use Public WiFi

Online shopping has never been easier. Free public WiFi hotspots are everywhere. Although it’s tempting to buy a gift online while sipping a cup of coffee at your favorite café, doing so over a public WiFi connection puts your credit card and other personal information at risk. Cybercriminals lurk on unsecure public WiFi networks searching for unencrypted digital information. Wait until you get home to make that purchase on your secure home network.

5. Stay Mum on Your Travel Plans

The holidays are ideal for visiting loved ones, but avoid sharing your holiday travel plans online. Oversharing details about your trip can lead to thieves hacking into your accounts or breaking into your home while you’re out of town. Only share vacation details with close friends and family.

Identity theft comes in many forms during December. Follow these tips so you can enjoy the holiday to the fullest!

The Data Vault provides information management and document shredding solutions for businesses in Kentucky and southern Indiana. For more identity theft prevention tips, please call us at 502-244-1151 or complete the form on this page.

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