Staying Secure During the Holidays

Like the end of the year isn’t a stressful enough time: you’ve got gift-giving, school performances to attend, and family events crowding the calendar. On top of that, you might also be doing some traveling to accommodate some (or all) of those other holiday events. If you’re planning to spend even a bit of the end of the year away (whether it’s with family or getting away from them), one of the worst parts of the season is dealing with the uninvited guest that’s not ever welcome: identity theft. If you’re ready to amp up your guard this holiday season, read on for a few more tips to help you stay sharp at the close of the year.

A recent survey conducted by Experian found that, among surveyed holiday shoppers, 54% are at least somewhat concerned about identity theft during the holidays. How can you take steps to be safe? Remember that when you’re shopping online, you can help ensure your information stays safe by using it only with well-known established retailers, by entering the web address yourself (instead of clicking through served ads or suspicious links in emails), and not allowing sites to store your payment information for future purchases.

An emerging threat this year just in time for the holidays is the rise of the look-alike app. An array of fake apps have sprung up in online app store locations despite stringent efforts to keep impostors out. Look-alike app fraud strategy means that the impostors are especially convincing, often using trade names and branding in an effort to dupe unsuspecting shoppers. Make sure you verify the parent company of the app before downloading or entering any personal information.

In addition to the duties involved in playing Santa, the business of holiday travel can set off tensions and leave you vulnerable to attack.

Before you even set out on your trip, think carefully about what’s really needed for travel. Lighten your wallet and leave unneeded credit cards (and a list of all items in your wallet for travel) at home in a secured location, bringing only the essentials with you for payment and identification on the road. When travel isn’t going smoothly, it’s even easier for you to lose track of your wallet and become an agitated target for opportunistic scammers to capture your misplaced info. Though not the easiest thing when winter weather causes delays, try to keep your cool when situations heat up and keep eyes on the important info you brought along for the journey.

Maybe the most important way to prep for the holidays is to prepare your mental state. With the madness that can find you in the season, something will go wrong. Being planful about where and how you use your information and keeping tabs on it from time to time means that you’re on top of your activity, and doesn’t have to ruin the most magical time of the year for you and everyone else.

When you’re smart with your information, you’re helping keep identity thieves iced out and your info where you need it.


This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.