Summer is a Prime Season for ID Theft
One of the times of year when you should be extra vigilant about protecting your personal and financial information is summertime. When people go on holiday and use their credit and debit cards in hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, identity thieves often strike to steal their data.
For example, in 2014 White Lodging Services and Creathe Group, two major conglomerates that operate multiple large hotel and retail chains, suffered massive hacking attacks that exposed the credit card and financial information of millions of individuals who visited these hotel and retail establishments in 2013. Customers who visited Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Westin and many other major hotels as well as customers who bought merchandise from vendors like H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Vimeo, The Economist and many more were all affected by this broad-reaching attack.
In the summer ID thieves target particular groups like vacationers as well as students seeking summer employment. Fake job ads sometimes appear in newspapers and online job boards, prompting applicants to unwittingly hand over Social Security Numbers, contact information and banking data to ID thieves. Sometimes the identity theft occurs over the phone when a fake employer contacts an applicant to ask for personal information that will supposedly be used for a background check. What happens instead is the private data is used to apply for credit cards in victims’ names.
Don’t Be A Victim!
- The good news is there are things you can do to prevent becoming a victim of ID theft during the summer. First and foremost, any time someone calls you and demands your account numbers, identity information or payment data, refuse the call; do not give out any personal information.
- If you are plan to go on vacation this summer, limit the forms of identification and the forms of payment you bring with you to cut down on the chances of theft or accidental loss while you are away from home.
- Have a trusted person collect all of your mail for you while you are out of town. If you cannot find a trusted person to do that for you, contact the postal service several weeks before you go to have them stop your home mail delivery while you are traveling. You can pick up the accumulated mail at your closest post office location after you return from your trip.
- When you are traveling, try to pay with cash wherever it is feasible to do so. Keep a close eye on your purse or wallet at all times.
- Do not log into public computers at cafes or hotels. If you must log into a public computer or use an unsecure Wi-Fi Internet connection, definitely do not conduct any online bill paying or banking, because someone might be monitoring your keystrokes to snag your log in credentials.
- When you travel overseas, use a special protective passport cover to block thieves from using RF signals to take your identity data.
If you follow these practical tips and take preventive measures to stop ID theft from happening to you, you will be able to enjoy a safe and secure summer without trouble.