Unwrap some simple holiday identity theft prevention tips from your friends at Franklin Savings Bank.

If you are like most, you probably have a long shopping list to tackle this month. Whether you are shopping online or down on Main Street, it is important to protect your identity. So before you take to the stores or the Internet, be sure to take a few minutes to read over these holiday identity theft prevention tips.

Monitor your account. Remain vigilant and inquire about any suspicious activity to catch an attempt at identity theft before it escalates. Talk to your bank to see if they offer any fraud mitigation services, like CardValet, to help prevent identity theft. This mobile app allows you to manage your debit card usage right from your mobile device with real-time notifications. Should you detect any fraudulent activity, be sure to notify your bank immediately.

Beware of scams. During the holidays, criminals will create a fake email for a deal that is too good to be true. If you click on any links within the email, you could unknowingly download malware onto your computer, or be asked for payment information that could lead to fraud.

Secure your internet connection. If shopping online, avoid using a public Wi-Fi connection, especially if you are attempting to access your online banking. Phones and computers are gateways to your personal information, so make sure they are protected with strong passwords containing numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols.

Use legitimate sites when shopping online. There are signs to help indicate that a website is secure, such as “https” in the Web address and an icon of a locked padlock on the left side of the URL.

Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you do not see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Don’t let your season of giving be ruined by identity theft. Preventing such a crime must be a cooperative effort between you and your bank. Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, for more ways to minimize your risk and help protect your personal information.

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