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Ways the Holidays Increase Your Risk of Identity Theft

The holidays can be a joyous time of the year, but it’s also the time of year that many fraudsters love because their targets become easier prey.  As you’re scratching things off your holiday to-do list, identity thieves are looking at ways to steal your data.

You can help keep your identity safe this holiday season and beyond by following these helpful tips.

Criminals can access information sent through public Wi-Fi.

While you’re out holiday shopping, you want to check your bank account or credit card statement to see how much you’ve spent. If you do this while you’re not at home, be sure that you’re using a Wi-Fi connection that you trust. Criminals can access the information that gets passed through public Wi-Fi.

Online scammers are hoping to get your attention.

Shopping online can be a great way to save time and money and help stay healthy and safe during the pandemic. But, if you shop online, you should be on the lookout for potential scams designed to collect your financial data and other sensitive information.

  • Be careful about scam emails. Scammers like to imposter well-known companies and those that you have accounts with. While the name on the email may look legit (for example, it may say that it’s from Apple), you may discover that the domain of email address does not match the company name upon closer examination. Most well-known companies use a domain that matches their company name. The domain part of the email address is the part after the “@” symbol. For example, the domain of info@ahfcu.org (correct email address) is “ahfcu,”; whereas the domain of ahfcu@gmail.com is “Gmail.”
  • Avoid clicking links if you don’t recognize the sender.
  • Before entering your payment information on a retailer’s website, look at the URL of the website. If it begins with “https” instead of “http,” it means the site is secured using an SSL certificate.

Skimmers want your data.

Thieves know that most people spend significantly more money during the holiday season. Identity thieves sometimes use skimming devices attached to card readers or ATMs to steal someone’s debit or credit card information. These skimmers store the card number, which criminals can use to make unauthorized purchases. Never use a card reader that appears as if someone has tampered with it.

It is essential to get in the habit of regularly checking all your debit and credit card accounts for signs of unauthorized transactions. If you see a charge that you believe you did not make, it may mean that someone has gained access to your account information and is making fraudulent purchases. Click here to learn what to do if you see an unknown transaction on your account.

Also, for additional account security and peace-of-mind, AHFCU recommends that our members set up alerts through NetTeller to get notified when account balances fall below a minimum amount and when large transactions are made.

AHFCU offers a full suite of complimentary ID theft services (monitoring, protection, and recovery) with our Value and Dividend checking accounts to maximize the protection available to our members. Click here to learn more about our checking accounts with identity theft protection.