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10 Tips to Help Protect Your Identity this Holiday Season

Criminals are always finding new ways to steal your identity and with the holidays just around the corner, your best defense is to be educated and aware before you begin shopping. We've provided you with some suggestions to help keep your identity safe this holiday season.

  1. Be sure to mix numbers and symbols into your password - some hackers use programs that can try every word in the dictionary.
  2. Never provide information about yourself or accounts you hold when solicited through an email or phone call.
  3. Don't click on links that ask for personal information, whether it's in an email, a pop-up, or an unsecure web page.
  4. Try not to leave your checkbook in your vehicle, or in a visible place in your home - always keep it in a secure location just in case a robbery occurs.
  5. Never leave paid bills in your mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up. Drop them off at a post office box.
  6. Limit the number of credit cards you carry. The fewer cards you have, the easier it is to track them.
  7. Make sure any online credit card charges are handled through a secure site and in an encrypted mode. You'll know you're on a secure site if the web page on which you conduct your transaction begins with https instead of http.
  8. Shred everything that contains confidential information, including credit card receipts (after you've reconciled your bill), old bank statements, medical statements, everyday bills, and pre-approved credit card offers. Any document that has personal financial information on it can give an identity thief a foothold into your life.
  9. If you're moving, contact all your creditors and update them of your address changes immediately. You don't want credit information and new credit cards being delivered to the wrong address. Likewise, if your credit card expired and you don't receive a new one, call your creditor immediately.
  10. Never carry your Social Security Number and driver's license together in your wallet.