With the arrival of ‘Black Friday’ and Cyber Monday,’ the first Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving, shoppers are ready for the official kickoff to the 2012 holiday shopping season. With research showing identity theft on the rise with help from social media and smart phones, shoppers need to protect their identities more than ever. For suggestions from The Hanover Insurance Group on how holiday shoppers can avoid identity theft, visit http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/file.aspx?IID=103541&FID=15353223.
These tips from the Hanover Insurance Group will help shoppers minimize the risk of identity theft:
- Don’t allow clerks to put your receipts in your bag when paying by credit card. Carry them in your wallet instead where they are safer and less likely to fall out.
- Watch cashiers, waiters and bartenders to make sure they don’t “skim” or save your card number for later use.
- Never allow merchants to write your social security number on a check when paying by check. In many states, it is illegal.
- Use a black gel ink pen to write checks to make it difficult for a check to be cleaned and reused.
- Be careful of wireless internet connections when shopping online. Only use those that require a security key or certificate.
- Shop on secure, reputable sites only. Leave suspicious websites immediately.
- Never offer shopping websites your social security number.
- Read customer reviews before ordering.
- Use a credit card and not a debit card, which makes it harder for you to get funds back and gives thieves access to funds in your bank account.
- Avoid carrying a social security card, birth certificate, passport, bank information or paychecks when hitting the stores.
- Check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often, helping to nip in the bud any efforts to use your identity.
As reported earlier on ESR News, the ‘2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming the New Fraud Frontier’ survey released by Javelin Strategy & Research found identity theft incidents in the United States increased by 13 percent in 2011 to affect more than 11.6 million Americans. These cases of identity theft were fueled mostly by the rise in the use of smart phones and social media. To download the identity theft survey from Javelin, visit https://www.javelinstrategy.com/brochure/239.
ESR News also reported that identity theft topped the list of consumer complaints released by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2011 for the 12th year in a row. Of more than 1.8 million complaints filed in 2011, 279,156 – or 15 percent – were identity theft complaints, and nearly 25 percent of those identity theft complaints were related tax- or wage-related fraud. For more information about the FTC’s Top Complaint Categories for 2011, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/02/2011complaints.shtm.
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