If you’re like most of us, you probably have a long shopping list to tackle this month. And more of us are doing our shopping online, rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. Whether you’re shopping online or down on Main Street, it’s important to protect your identity. Don’t let your season of giving be ruined by identity theft.

These five tips will help you prevent identity theft during the holiday season:

  1. Monitor your account. Use online and mobile banking to keep an eye on your transactions,5 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft This Holiday Shopping Season especially during the holidays. 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. Click here to download the CardValet mobile app.
  2. Beware of scams. During the holidays, criminals will create a fake email for a deal that’s 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. Here is a list of the most common check scams to be on the lookout for this.
  3. Limit large sums of cash. Even though we’ve seen financial crime migrate from physical to cyber, be careful not to carry around large sums of cash when shopping. A bank will make you whole if there’s fraud against your account. If cash is stolen, your money is gone.
  4. Secure your internet connection. If shopping online, make sure you use a password-protected Wi-Fi network. Never access online banking from a public Wi-Fi network.
  5. 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 don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Preventing identity theft should be taken seriously. It is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States and around the world. If it happens to you, or a family member, would you know what to do? Schedule an appointment with one of our banking professionals to learn more about the steps you can follow to prevent identity theft as well as the services available to you.