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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12/03/2009

“Tis the season for giving”, just be careful who you give to and how

With the holidays just around the corner, just about everyone is in a giving mood. Now more than ever we find ourselves dropping our extra change in the Salvation Army bucket outside the grocery store or giving that extra dollar to St. Jude’s whenever we buy something at CVS. Unfortunately, identity thieves are out there taking advantage of all this goodwill.

Every year, natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires cause many people to lose their property, homes, loved ones or even lives. Thankfully, there are many compassionate people who donate a great deal of time and money to charities that help these victims. Several identity thieves are taking full advantage of this eagerness to help and are using it as an opportunity to capture personal information of unsuspecting individuals.

These scam artists pose as legitimate charitable organizations and send emails out with links to very legitimate looking websites. When individuals click on the sites, they’re asked to submit personal data such as credit card and social security numbers. On top of this, many of these emails contain attachments that when downloaded, install spyware and viruses that are designed to collect sensitive data from individuals’ computers.

To keep the holiday season merry and not fall victim to identity thieves’ charity scams, you and your employees both should take the following precautions:

  • Only make charitable donations to a known organization using a published phone number, address or website.  Also, always make donations directly to the organization, never through a third-party.
  • When you donate to a charity online, always go directly to the charity’s website by typing the URL in your browser or searching for the charity’s name on your search engine.
  • Use various Internet search tools such as Google and Yahoo to verify the legitimacy of the charitable organization before donating to them online.

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