Aside from spending quality time with family and friends, shopping — increasingly online — is the other major activity during the holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average American spends almost $1,000 ($997.73 to be precise) on holiday shopping, from gifts to festive items and other household purchases.
Furthermore, in their fourth annual “Holiday Shopping ID Theft” survey, Generali Global Assistance (GGA) published the following research.
- 2 in 3 Americans are concerned about their personal information being compromised in a data breach while shopping this holiday season.
- 78% of customers stated that they would be concerned about doing business with a retailer that had previously experienced a data breach.
- 64% of Americans indicated they would feel more secure doing business with a retailer if they offered customers an identity protection service.
- 61% of shoppers indicated that data breaches of online merchants or credit card companies is the biggest threat to their identity security.
- 2 in 5 Americans believed that identity theft is the greatest personal threat this year.
From the research it’s clear that consumers are concerned about the security of their financial identity information in the face of constant data leaks and breaches. That being the case, we thought we’d put together some tips on avoiding becoming the victim in a credit card data leak.
5 Ways to Avoid Being the Victim
1. Watch Out for Social Media Scams
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has warned about online scams at this time of year. Included in the top ten are: misleading ads on social media, fake “gift exchanges”, fake shipping notifications, and fake account alerts.
Meanwhile, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) has reported on Instagram and Facebook accounts being taken over by scammers — most often in the aftermath of data leaks and breaches. Bear in mind that, while a valid social security number goes for just $2 on the dark web, hacked Instagram and Facebook accounts go for a whopping $45 and $65 respectively.
2. Check Your Account Online
You should monitor your accounts regularly online, in particular in the wake of data leaks and breaches: keep checking daily for at least 30 days after. If you find a suspicious charge, dispute it immediately. Review your credit reports periodically to ensure no fraudulent activity has occurred. You can request your free credit report via annualcreditreport.com.
3. Freeze Your Credit or Add a Fraud Alert
If you are caught up in a data breach, call each of the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) and request that your credit report be frozen. You can also visit IdentityTheft.gov and get help to add a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report.
4. Request a New Card
If you are concerned about the security of your financial accounts, inform your bank or credit card company and request a new card (after which you should safely destroy your old one). Most service providers will have no problem with this.
5. Credit Card Number Monitoring
Trend Micro ID Security scans the internet and the dark web for your personal information — including up to 10 credit card numbers. If your data is ever leaked, you’ll know about it instantly. Available on Android and iOS, its key features also include:
- Dark Web Personal Data Manager
- Email Address Checker
- Password Checker
- Social Media Account Checker
- A Comprehensive Monitoring Report
Simple, efficient, and easy-to-use, follow this link or scan the QR code below to try the free 30-day trial version today!
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