In order to better protect your identity, we’ve put together this list of things to look out for as you do your holiday shopping for friends, family, and colleagues alike.
1. Keep an eye out for skimmers.
Skimmers are devices attached to ATMs or card readers that steal your credit or debit card number while you use the machine. Before using an ATM, pull on the part of the machine where you would enter your card to see if it easily detaches; if so, it’s probably a skimmer.
2. Pay attention to URLs.
A lot of scammers create URLs, or website addresses, that appear similar to popular online stores in order to steal your personal information. Make sure you’re actually entering your credit card information on https://www.amazon.com instead of something like http://amazonshop.com.
3. Be vigilant about your credit card statements.
This is a good habit to have all year round but becomes especially important during the holiday season. Review your credit and debit card statements monthly in order to ensure all purchases are ones you made, and that there isn’t any suspicious activity.
4. Don’t click on suspicious emails.
Think that email asking you to log in and review your account or a recent purchase seems a little “phishy”? Don’t fall for it! If you have the slightest doubt, it’s better to report an email than click on any links it may contain, as this could indeed be a phishing scheme.
5. Favor credit cards and cash over debit.
Last but not least, use a credit card or cash when you can, as these options offer you more protection than using a debit card, which automatically withdraws money from your account.