Identity theft is always something to be concerned with. During the holidays, the threat of identity theft increases. During the holiday season, your employees will be making more purchases than other times of the year. They may even be spending larger amounts of money than their usual spending habits. Busy holiday shoppers who do not take time to protect their credit card and banking information are vulnerable to financial risk. Help your employees understand the threat of identity theft and provide information on how they can protect themselves against becoming a victim this holiday season.
How it Effects Your Workplace
Having to wait on hold with banks and credit card companies trying to cancel lost cards, worrying about expenses that can’t be paid due to stolen funds, and feeling violated by the criminal who stole their identity are just a few of the things your employees will experience if their identity is stolen. Victims of identity theft are often frustrated, angry, confused, and worse, distracted from their work.
These types of distractions can wreak havoc on the safety of others. While employees are busy trying to regain their identity and correct financial issues, they aren’t focusing on being a safe.
Help prevent these issues in your workplace by sharing important information about identity theft with your employees. The holiday season is a great time to remind employees of the increased potential of identity theft. While you can not prevent all cases of identity theft, there are measures you and your employees can take to protect against it. Consider these tips when holiday shopping this season.
What to Do If…
You Want to Avoid Identity Theft
Don’t be Targeted by Pickpockets
During the holidays, shopping malls and stores are more crowded than usual, and it can be tough to stay aware of what surrounds us. With so many people around, it’s hard to look out for the bad guys. Busy shopping centers are a prime location for pickpockets to do their worst. Busy and distracted shoppers are targets for identity thieves.
- Always put your credit cards, cash money, and checkbooks back into your wallet or purse when you’ve completed a transaction.
- Men- always put your wallet safely away in a front pocket or inside jacket pocket.
- Ladies- always put your coin purse or wallet safely away in a zippered part of your purse. Keep purses close to your body and never leave it unattended.
- When making credit/debit card transactions, it’s a good idea to conceal the card number (and pin) just in case someone behind you was to take a photo of the card. It may look like the person is texting, but it is also possible that an identity thief is taking a photo of your name, card number, and expiration date.
Beware of Online Scams
Online shopping is a popular way to avoid crowded malls. You may be hoping to enjoy the convenience of making your purchases online. You should still be cautious. Most retailers operate secure websites that protect online purchase transactions. However, it is important to be aware of potential online scams. Pop-up advertisements and fake websites are a sneaky way for identity thieves to get your information while you are shopping for a great deal.
Also, be wary of charity groups asking for money. The holidays are a time of year to share and give to those in need. When making charitable contributions online, be sure the organization you are donating to is legitimate.
- Do not click on links to sites you do not recognize.
- Always purchase from a known retailer’s site directly. Do not purchase name-brand items from outlet and surplus sites you are not familiar with.
- Look for the “lock” symbol at the top of the webpage before entering your payment information. The symbol indicates the page is protected against identity thieves.
- Do not open emails or click links inside of emails from people you do not know.
- Do not provide your banking information or make financial transactions with institutions or charities you have never heard of.
- Be wary of online banking through WiFi networks. Online banking is an easy way to transfer funds and manage money, but identity thieves can access information passed through open WiFi networks and capture your identity.
Look for Skimmers and Protect Against RFID
Criminals know that the holidays are a time a year when people make more frequent and larger purchases than any other time of year. They also know that you are less likely to question large expense transactions on your bank statement, assuming you’ll write it off as a holiday gift expense. One way they steal identity information is by attaching skimming devices to card readers or ATMs. These devices copy card information and give identity thieves all the information they need to replicate the card. Identity thieves may also make use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) skimmers to steal credit/debit card information from several feet away. RFID readers copy and transmit data by scanning the card’s strip from a distance. The reader then converts the information to a more usable form of data, duplicating your credit/debit card for the criminal to use.
- Never use a card reader that looks like it has been tampered with.
- Cover the keypad to conceal your pin when using a card reader.
- If you think a card reader has been tampered with or looks suspicious, call a store clerk or manager for assistance.
- Skimmers are most likely to be attached to gas pumps furthest away from the front windows of a gas station and self-checkout lanes not attended by a store clerk.
- Protect your cards with RFID-blocking wallets, purses, and card sleeves.
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