Identity theft claimed 11 million victims in 2009, a 25%
increase over 2008, and the danger of your personal ID being stolen during the
Christmas season is greater than ever.
BBB recommends taking the following steps to fight identity theft
this holiday season:
1. Is it safe to shop
(Over 45% of holiday shoppers make purchases
* Confirm the
legitimacy of all “trust marks” -- BBB, Versign or TRUSTe . . . clicking
on the seal . . . will direct you to the certifying organization’s Web site.
* Make online purchases
with credit card -- Fair Credit Billing Act protection allows
you to dispute the charges with your credit card company.
* Only pay on a
secured site – look to address box for the “s”
and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” symbol before paying.
2. What about in-store
* Pick pockets -- Keep purse tucked securely under your arm and your
wallet in a front
pocket . . . don’t bog yourself down by too many shopping bags.
* Keep receipts in your wallet -- safe place; not your bag.
* Review your credit card statement quickly -- Check
your credit card activity online
rather than waiting for the statement . . . catch suspicious charges immediately . . .
irregularities to your credit card company.
3. How do we respond to
e-mail phishing attempts?
* Be wary of emails from retailers, banks or shipping businesses -- If you receive an email
from your bank, retailer or a shipping company claiming that there is a
problem with your account or delivery, do not click on any links in the email
or reply with any information. Instead contact the business directly to confirm the
* Be extremely cautious when viewing e-cards -- fake
e-mail notices that claim
generically that a "friend" or "family member" has sent a
card . . . victims click
on a link that installs a virus.
* Purchase anti-virus
software from a business you trust.
For more advice on keeping your identity safe over the
holidays, visit www.bbb.org or call the BBB
24 hours a day (409) 835-5348 or NEW