As we embark on yet another festive holiday shopping season, take a moment and refresh yourself on some simple yet pertinent security reminders so that you do not end up being a victim of a crime of seasonal opportunity.
- Theft or losing credit card(s)
- Unnecessarily volunteering personal data
- Theft of your wallet when distracted or in a dressing room
- Personal security
- Theft of delivered items
- When embarking on that shopping spree, take only the necessary credit cards you need. The more you carry on your person (or in a purse), the greater the chance of losing one (and worse, not knowing it until the bill arrives).
- Ladies: Consider leaving the purse at home and take only the bare shopping necessities like cash, your driver’s license and a couple of credit cards. (Or lock your purse in your trunk while you shop if you must have your purse nearby.)
- Pay with cash!
- Don’t take your debit card—why do you have a debit card anyway?
- Make sure that you make photocopies of all credit and debit cards – front and back – that are in your purse or wallet.
- Watch the clerks—see what they do with your credit card. They can photograph both sides of it with their cell phone when you are distracted, only to shop later at your expense. How opportunistic is this at restaurants, where they take the card and return with your slip to sign?
- Do not give out your Social Security number or date of birth if asked by a clerk in order to facilitate a purchase, perhaps if paying by check. How would they know if you didn’t give them the correct one?
- Be leery of giving someone your driver’s license needed to prove who you are. Don’t let it out of your sight.
- Limit completing those new credit card offers at retail tables that will provide you that immediate and extra 10 percent (or more) off store purchases. Those applications – in paper – contain a wealth of your personal information that usually just sits in an unsecured bin of other applications.
- Be cautious of where you rest your personal belongings in a restroom or dressing room. Hang them up.
- Limit the amount of jewelry you wear shopping. Aside from possibly losing something, you are advertising wealth, and therefore your personal information and credit cards may appear much more appealing to a thief looking for targets who may have higher credit limits on credit cards.
- Always be cognizant of your surroundings in a store and in a parking lot. Who is behind you in line, are your bags open and contents (such as your wallet or credit cards) easily accessible? When walking in parking lots, look around, park in well-lit areas and try not to carry so many packages, which can make you an easy target.
- Many individuals’ wallets or credit cards are stolen by pairs working to first distract you while the second person bumps into you and/or as a result, steals your wallet or visible credit card.
- With so much online shopping these days, theft of delivered packages to residences has been on the rise. Consider having them delivered to your office instead. Leaving them visible on your porch makes them inviting and an easy target to a Grinch.
- After power shopping, check your bank account, when you return and on a regular basis thereafter. Look for unauthorized transactions and withdrawals.
- Don’t leave your belongings in the child seat of a shopping cart.
- Don’t leave your credit card payments or any payments (if you still write checks) in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up. Stealing outgoing mail for bank and credit card information has not gone out of style. Take them to the post office yourself or mail them from work.
We hope some of these tips resonate and as a result, that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday shopping season.
Questions? For more information, please contact Frank Suponcic at 440-449-6800 or email Frank.