Identity Thieves Hone in on Busy Shoppers and TravelersDecember 14, 2022
While you’re making plans for the holidays with family and friends, cyber criminals are looking for
opportunities to steal your identity and commit financial frauds. Between 2014
and 2018, there was a 109% increase in holiday identity fraud. There are
five ways individuals experience greater risk of identity theft around the
1. You’re distracted. As you rush around to stores and holiday parties,
you’re more likely to forget your purse, lose your wallet or have
a credit card stolen. When you’re distracted, you are less likely to spot
a phishing email before it’s too late.
2. You use public WiFi or charging stations. Public WiFi networks are
not secured by a password, and when you use your device on an
open network, your data is at risk of being stolen. The best rule is
never to use public WiFi and especially not for financial transactions
and shopping. A newer vulnerability exists at public charging stations.
Data thieves hack into these stations and “juice jack” unsuspecting
victims’ devices by pulling data through the USB cords on phones.
3. You are bargain hunting online. Research shows that 43% of holiday
shopping identity theft occurs online. One minute you’re Googling
frantically for hard-to-find holiday gifts and the next minute, you’ve
suddenly found them in stock and unbelievably priced for a fire sale.
Watch out! This is how bargain hunters get suckered into fake web
stores. They steal your card number and identity…and you don’t even
get the items you bought.
4. Your credit card gets “skimmed.” Sometimes thieves insert a credit
card skimmer inside the card machines in gas stations, retail stores
or restaurants. Unbeknownst to the store, every customer’s credit
card information is being swiped by cybercriminals.
5. You fall for a holiday charity scam. You’re feeling extra generous
during the holiday season and you give generously when asked for
charitable donations. Unfortunately, some criminals use fake charities
to tug on your holiday heartstrings. Do your homework before donating.