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December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month

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People walking and shopping inside a shopping mall (Blurred motion demonstrates the motion and also protects peoples privacy)Millions of Americans’ identities are stolen every December. That’s why December is Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. Don’t let identity theft ruin your holiday cheer! Here are several tips for protecting your privacy during the holiday season.

Beware of Porch Pirates

One benefit of online shopping is avoiding shopping crowds by having holiday purchases delivered to your home. The downside is that it gives thieves an opportunity to steal your mail and your identity. Since crooks know the holiday season is a prime time for porch deliveries, be vigilant about collecting your mail. Require signatures for holiday deliveries. You can also instruct shipping companies to leave deliveries on your back porch or in another designated area. Another tip is to never leave end-of-year donations or cards with money, checks or gift cards in your mailbox for pickup; drop them off at your local post office instead.

Shred Your Paper Waste

Paper waste piles up during the holidays. If you’re not careful how you dispose of it, your identity can be stolen. Shred online purchase orders, bank statements, and unneeded holiday receipts. A drop-off shredding service offers a convenient and easy solution for destroying unwanted personal information.

At work, consider investing in a scheduled shredding service. Thieves scour business dumpsters and recycling bins. A scheduled shredding service keeps your confidential information out of the trash.

Locked shredding collection containers are delivered to your office, allowing your employees to discard sensitive information securely. The containers come in several sizes and styles to meet your office decor and document disposal needs, such as:

  • 64-gallon locked bins
  • 32-gallon locked bins
  • Executive consoles

Don’t Take Phishing Bait

Your email inbox overflows with holiday offers and promotions in December, so it’s important to know which emails are and aren’t legit. Cybercriminals often “spoof” well-known retailers, hoping unsuspecting consumers will offer up their personal information. Clicking on a malicious link can lead to having your identity stolen. Beware of emails with grammar or spelling errors and blank “To” fields. If in doubt, don’t click. Go directly to the merchant’s website and look for information on the offer you received.

Check Your Credit Card Statements

The holiday season means you’re swiping your credit card often, which increases the chance of having your personal information stolen. In the past several years, many large retailers’ point of sale (POS) systems have been hacked, compromising millions of consumers’ personal information. When possible, use cash for your holiday purchases and if you’re using your credit card, check your statements often for unauthorized purchases.

By following these identity theft prevention tips, you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest!

CI Information Management services Tri-Cities, the Yakima Valley, Walla Walla, Hermiston, OR, Moses Lake, Wenatchee, and nearly everywhere in between. To learn more about our records and information management solutions, give us a call at 509-586-6090 or complete the form on this page.