UBP blog

12/18/2009

6 Need-to-know Items for Preventing Holiday Shopping ID Theft

Filed under: Uncategorized — ubpblogger @ 9:30 am
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Take our recession economy, combine it with our population becoming more and more tech-savvy by the day add yet another holiday shopping season and what do you get? You guessed it, a perfect storm for identity theft.

Identity theft costs businesses over $221 billion a year and claimed nearly 10 million victims in 2008. On top of this, when an individual becomes a victim of identity theft they’re not the only affected by the damages—their employer is too.

Employers whose workers become victims of identity theft are vulnerable to huge productivity losses.

Studies show it takes 330 hours on average to clear up all the damages after an identity is stolen—a figure that’s very hard to stomach in this day and age where we’re all doing more with less.

For employers, preventing employee identity theft starts with awareness:

That’s because 80 percent of identity theft is not related to breaches within credit card and/or bank accounts, but improper use of personal information.

To make sure your employees keep their personal data safe and secure, especially throughout the holiday shopping season, share with them the following tips:

When shopping online:

  1. Only use a secure website (you’ll know if the web address says “https” and not “http”).
  2. Use a credit card, not a debit card. Debit cards don’t have the same protections as credit cards and can be used immediately by a their to take funds from accounts.
  3. Research the web site and read all fine print before making an order. A legitimate company should have at least one phone number and physical business address posted on their website.

When shopping in physical stores:

  1. Leave your social security cards at home
  2. Keep an eye on your credit card at all times—Don’t walk away from the cashier holding your card to grab one last item. Also, don’t let the store clerk or another accomplice distract you from your transaction. In the time it takes you to look away and focus on something else, they could swipe your card through a second terminal and use the information for counterfeit purposes.
  3. Take the time to “shoulder-surf”—Take a few extra moments to protect your driver’s licenses and information on checks from wandering eyes. You never really know who’s standing behind you in line.
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