The holidays are fraught with chaos. You’re up late baking cookies for your kids’ class or your coworkers. If not that, you’re up late wrapping presents or cleaning your house to prepare for your relatives. You’re distracted; sleep deprived, and stressed, which is exactly what identity thieves are hoping this holiday season.
While it is nearly impossible to prevent identity theft, you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim by arming yourself with information on how thieves steal your identity. Below are some of the common holiday scams circulating this year and how you can protect yourself from identity theft.
1.Websites with Amazing Deals – Every year, thieves looking to make some money create amazing websites that look professional and reputable and load them with fake online stores touting deals for popular items with steep discounts. Excited to be saving money, shoppers are baited into providing their credit card information once they get to the checkout screen.
How to protect yourself –If you are shopping online, make sure you stick to reputable retailers with familiar names. Check the URL of the website to make sure you really are on amazon.com and not amezon.com. Additionally, if the deal seems too good to be true, it likely is.
2.An e-card with Malware – Holiday e-cards from your family can be a fun, silly way to tell your loved one you’re thinking about them. Unfortunately, relatives and friends aren’t the only people who send e-cards. Identity thieves load their cards up with malware or other viruses that install themselves on your computer after you’ve clicked open the link.
How to protect yourself – If you see a link to download an attachment for an e-card, don’t click the link. Ask the person if they sent you an e-card before you click the link. If the e-card email notification lists a card number, try visiting the greeting card company’s website and pulling your e-card up through their website.
Remain on the lookout and vigilantly check your bank accounts through January or February. Often thieves wait until you have the holidays are over to start pulling money from your accounts.