It’s no secret that identity theft is a rising problem in the U.S., clocking in as the fastest growing crime according to the Federal Trade Commission. But what many people may not realize, however, is that they could be more susceptible to credit card and identity theft and other fraud during the holiday season, when people shop til they drop and online shopping spikes–virtually giving thieves more opportunity to strike. It’s hard for most of us to fathom anything other than tidings of good cheer during the holiday season, but scammers don’t care whether they’re going to go on Santa’s naughty list or not. Here are some tips, courtesy of Jennifer Waters at MarketWatch, to protect yourself against holiday scams:
“‘Tis the season for scammers to shop too, and the bad guys are stepping up their game, taking advantage of consumers through traditional rip-off methods — and some new schemes too.
Most of these scams we see all year, but they become much more prominent this time of year because of all the holiday hustle and bustle,” says Robert Siciliano, a security expert for McAfee, the online security technology firm. In the flurry of store-hopping and cyber shopping, we tend to forget stuff, like credit cards and packages at cash registers. We leave exposed gifts in the front seat of a car and purchase products on websites we’ve never visited (or worse yet, have never heard of).“
Click here to read MarketWatch’s review of the top eight holiday scams, and advice about how to protect yourself against these holiday thieves.
Theft of all kinds can happen year-round, but in light of Waters’ well-researched article I would encourage consumers to be extra conscious this holiday season, of their purchases, their goods, their gifts, their checking accounts, and so on. Let’s not give the Grinches of the season any opportunity to scam on us!