5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Thieves This Holiday Season

Nov 24, 2015

Data breaches have become part of our lives -- but you can still take a few steps to protect yourself before you hit the stores or start surfing for the upcoming holiday season. Here are a few smart ways to shop more securely.

  • Start by only conducting business with secure web sites, which have a padlock symbol or an address that starts with “https.” If you come across a smaller website and aren’t sure about whether it is secure, check it out with the Better Business Bureau.
  • If you store your credit card information with any website, be sure to set a strong password that is only used for that site.
  • When shopping in a brick-and-mortar location, the safest choice is using cash at the checkout counter -- but most of us don’t want to risk losing money. If you want the convenience of plastic, credit cards are the safest option: If your credit card information is stolen or compromised, your liability is minimized, whereas a debit card thief could drain your bank account before you notice. Additionally, credit card issuers usually provide protection against stolen, damaged or lost items.
  • Once you've done your shopping, carefully review credit card statements as soon as you receive them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your issuer and report it immediately.

Finally, if you think that your information has been compromised or that you have been a victim of identity theft, go to the FTC website for step-by-step instructions about what you need to do.

Read more:

MONEY may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions