I wrote an article on online shopping for office equipment before, and I would like to stress the importance of safe shopping, particularly this time of the year where people are maxing-out their budget and credit limit for holiday gifts and presents for friends, relatives and business contacts/partners.
Take heed, because fraudsters and identity thieves are actively looking for lucrative, potential identity theft and credit fraud victims, and people are particularly vulnerable in this holiday season.
I myself notice an increased number of spam emails in my inbox and blogs offering everything from fake Christmas e-cards that could lead me to let viruses and/or spyware to infect my had drives, to free gift cards scam that requires me to enter personal info to redeem.
Credit cards transaction – do a double check
Your credit card, either personal or business, is being targetted by fraudsters today, because they know people are reckless these days.
Credit fraud can happen off line and online – most prominently on the latter.
The typical case is this:
You’ve found a good webiste with a great offer. Their design and sales copy are convincing.
What’s more, they have a VeriSign seal on-site (VeriSign is one of the companies that protect your privacy and vital information).
You ordered for a good and found out that it is not delivered as promised. You’ve tried to contact the toll-free number, but nobody answers.
I guess you’ve been scammed – the site owner takes your dollars for nothing. What’s worse, your credit card number and security code are with them!
Not only that could happens to you. If your business accept credit cards payment, be prepared to double, or even triple check your customers’ credit card transaction.
A customer can do a transaction with a stolen credit card and get away with it – leaving your business with the hassle of settling the fraud with the credit card’s issuer.
Where the credit cards are stolen from? Not necessarily from a public places. It could be stolen from inside – yes, your trusted employees could do credit fraud if you are not careful with your policies.
Not an ideal way to benefit from the high season.
How to protect yourself from credit fraud
You can do a simple safety measures to protect yourself from credit fraud, to name a few:
- Double, even triple check the newly found online retailer’s background – if it used a P.O. Box address, and no other visible certification on sight, I suggest you to move on.
- Check the security seals on the online store – I’ve visitead an online store that let us assue it is using a VeriSign SSL protection, but when I want to click the seal, it led to nowhere – it’s a fake seal!
- Don’t enter vital information, such as your credit card number and security code if there is no visible protection certificates on-site – Otherwise, you will become an easy target for phishing, another specialist in identity theft and credit fraud.
- If you shop in an off line retailer, never lose sight on the whereabouts of your credit card – you could be a victim of credit fraud and identity theft by trusting your credit cards to an unknown cashier.
- Never write your private information on a piece of paper or in your PDA.
You can also apply for a third-party identity protection, such as ID Secure, to help you protect your sensitive data while provide you with insurance and up to date monitoring reports.
Where to find information on ID Secure and any other third-party identity protection solution? Websites, such as IdentityTheft.com, can help you with all the information you need about how to protect yourself from identity theft and credit fraud.
Take identity safety measures seriously to avoid holiday shopping woes.
Spend your money wisely, protect your identity vigorously
Image by d70focus.