You may have already heard me mention on Twitter and Facebook that I have 25 people on my Christmas shopping list. I have a lot of siblings, in-laws, and a TON of nieces (and one sweet little nephew, too!). I have a 6 page list where I keep track of the gifts I have purchased, as I shop all year long so that I can afford to get fun and interesting gifts for everyone.
My goal every year is to be completely finished with my shopping by Thanksgiving.
I rarely meet this goal.
But I almost NEVER subject myself to Black Friday. I don’t think it is fun at all. I think it is stressful and a little bit sad, as it just seems to be a day of grabbing as much stuff as you can before someone else grabs it. No thanks.
But Cyber Monday? Now that’s a different story! I think I like it because I can’t see with my own eyes how many other people are shopping, and somehow that makes it easier to accept. Also, my work day starts around 4am, and if I can get some shopping done in the wee small hours of the morning, that’s ideal for me! No need to get out of my yoga pants!
Oh who am I kidding; I still wear my yoga pants when I go to the store…
Whether you are hitting the stores for those tempting holiday deals or just going online to get what you need (or both, which is what most Americans are doing now), you will likely be making use of your credit and/or debit cards. They are so convenient and in the short run feel much safer than cash, but each shopping experience you have with them is also another opportunity for identity theft.
Sorry to be a joy kill, but as you know I’ve been a victim MANY times, and a few of those times happened around the holidays, when I was using my credit card quite liberally.
I have a few tips to help you stay safe this holiday season. These are tips and tricks I have picked up over the years and I hope they help you.
Shopping in a store
1. DO NOT get your credit card out of your wallet until it is time to pay. Many people have it out and on the counter or in their hands while they wait for the total bill. In this day and age, security cameras and cell phones can easily get a picture of your credit card numbers and the name on the card. I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. Don’t get would-be picture takers the chance!
1. If you are like me you do price comparisons online before making a purchase. Sometimes a lesser known store might have a better deal than some of the online giants like Amazon. I’ve seen it! BUT….if the best deal is coming from a store or site you’ve never heard of, please take an extra moment to do a web search on the company and see if there are any complaints out there. You need to make sure that you are shopping with a reputable retailer before handing over your credit card information. Checking out the store with the Better Business Bureau is also a good idea and it only takes a few seconds. This strategy has kept me from handing over my credit card information to businesses that turned out to be shady on more than one occasion.
2. Keep your internet security software up to date to help you catch anything fishy (or should I say phishy?).
1. I never make donations to organizations over the phone, because I don’t know if the person who is calling me really is from the organization in question, or if they are just claiming to be from the organization. Unfortunately this is a popular way to get people to hand over their credit card info, along with their addresses. Instead of donating this way, go directly to the organization you support online and donate through their site.
I hope my tips will help you play it safe this holiday season! For more helpful hints and tips (and for chances to win GREAT prizes, like a $1,000 Visa card!) remember to play the LifeLock for Life game online. It’s one of my favorite weekly games to play as it teaches me something new every time!
Do you have any tips for keeping your personal information safe while shopping and making donations this holiday season?
I am a compensated ambassador for LifeLock. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are strictly my own.