Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, but holiday spending will continue right up to December 24th. According to the Nation Retail Federation, 84% of Americans will use the internet to shop during the holidays. Even during non-holiday times, people are using noncash transactions for the purchases of goods and services.
Cybercriminals are smart, and you need to be informed about protecting your identity. Identity theft has been the No. 1 consumer complaint for 12-straight years, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Experts tell us that it can take over 100 hours and thousands of dollars to restore your identity once it has been stolen. There are things you can do to protect your identity during the holidays and throughout the year.
• Consider identity theft insurance.
• When shopping, only take the credit cards you need.
• Credit cards have more protection than a debit card. Do not use your debit card or checks for transactions because these forms of payment are directly linked to your bank account.
• Review your bank statements to make sure all transactions are correct.
• When online shopping, only use sites you have used before or those that are reputable.
• Use secure ATMs.
• Make sure your antivirus and anti-spyware software is up to date.
• Don’t open emails from people you don’t know, even if your name is in the reference line.
• Don’t shop on unprotected wireless networks. Enjoy your coffee at the coffee shop, but do your shopping at home.
• Use complex passwords and change them regularly.
• Know the signs of identity theft.
• Keep your Social Security Card and number locked up.
• Keep your laptop or tablet locked in the trunk.
• Keep receipts in your purse or wallet, not in the bag.
We’re constantly on the lookout for ways to save you money. Here is a sample list of areas where discounts apply – but please contact us for a complete list!