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Posted by on Dec 5, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Identity Theft Increases During Holiday Season

DURHAM, NC — No organization publishes comprehensive information about how many people have their personal information stolen each year, though some estimates place the number at more than 8 million in the United States alone. With the holiday season in full swing and the economy taking a turn for the worse, identity theft is expecting to increase this year.

“ID theft is obviously a threat any time of the year,” said Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to the Poughkeepsie Journal. “But particularly during the holidays, thieves and crooks come out from under their rocks to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.”

With the risk of identity theft in mind, it is smart to take a few basic precautions this holiday season, many experts say. A few tips to remember:

  • When shopping online, look for symbols that denote the website is using SSL security technology, that your browser displays a padlock symbol in the bottom of the window or in the URL address bar. Also, look for other symbols that denote a trustworthy site like TRUSTe, Verisign, The Better Business Bureau, and McAfee Secure.
  • Make sure your credit cards are safe in one place and that you always know where they are.
  • Keep your receipts in a safe place. Leaving them in your car or on your desk can give thieves access to information that can be helpful to thieves. Send them to Shoeboxed for safe keeping.
  • Be wary this busy holiday season of people peering over your shoulder at crowded checkouts when you enter in your PIN for your debit cards. Using a busy aisle as an excuse to get close, they may be trying to steal your PIN.
  • Ben Stokes

    Adding a couple more tips:

    Be cautious when purchasing gift cards this year:

    It’s possible the value of the card may change after a specific time period. It’s also possible the card issuer may go out of business.

    Look for Secure Shopping Carts:

    When you are entering, your personal information during the “checkout” portion of your purchase be aware of a couple of things that should trigger the sites security/trustworthiness. When a site uses SSL, a “Secure Session” is designated by “https:// and as mentioned in the article the Security Status Bar displays a padlock.

    When a site has Extended Validation SSL, a higher level of security, current browsers will trigger the address bar to turn green and actually display the organizations name that has been certified. EV SSL provides online shoppers with a great sense of protection and some well needed “peace of mind” during the holiday shopping season.

    Credit Card Monitoring
    Unless you have fraud flags set up with your financial institutions, be vigilant about monitoring your accounts online, and comparing purchases to the receipts to review the vendor relationships. Report any SUSPECT activity IMMEDIATELY , even the slightest suspicion should warrant a quick phone call to your cc company.

  • Dan Englander


    These are great additions. If you’re noticing any fishy charges to your card from vendors, you definitely need to contact your credit card company. You also might consider trying to get the word out about your experience so others can hear about it. You can do that here or on other sites like The Consumerist (