Better Safe than Sorry
As Black Friday approaches, you and millions of other shoppers wake up at the crack of dawn to get that discounted television, the latest video game system, or that juice maker you had your eyes on.
Before you click on that item while shopping online or make that mad dash out the door to shove and push your way to be the first in line, make sure you take the necessary precautions in preventing identity theft.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is reminding Philadelphians to be safe and smart when making store and online purchases. “The malls and stores will be crowded on Black Friday, which is why it is important to have a designated rendezvous point in case anyone gets lost or separated.”
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from identity theft whether on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or anytime throughout the year:
- Do not carry your social security card in your wallet or write the number on your checks.
- Beware of people looking over your shoulder while typing your passwords at ATM’s or on computers.
- Destroy any old receipts, credit card offers, account statements and expired cards. This is to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
- Check your receipts to make sure you are paying the price that you see in the stores.
- Keep current receipts in a safe place as well as tracking any deliveries for purchases made.
- When shopping online, make sure they are from honest businesses. Don’t be fooled in giving your credit card information for seasonal promotions.
- Be careful of scammers acting as charities. Doing a little research can make a huge difference.
- Know the privacy and return policies of the stores you intend to buy from.
- Download apps from legitimate sources and read their reviews before entering your personal information.
- Be aware of where you keep your purse, wallet, keys, and smartphone.
- Lock your car doors, no matter how long you are away from it. Don’t leave money, phone chargers, or shopping bags in plain sight.
- Review your credit card and bank statements carefully, especially in December and January.
If you want to place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact one of the three credit reporting agencies:
Equifax: www.equifax.com - 1-800-525-6285
Experian: www.experian.com - 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: www.tuc.com - 1-800-680-7289