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  • 7 ways to protect yourself from ID theft while holiday shopping.

    Posted on November 26th, 2012 admin No comments

    South Florida has the highest rate of identity theft of any metro area in the nation so consumers here need to especially protect themselves from identity theft while shopping during the holidays.

    Here are seven tips from the website IDentity Theft 911 at

    1. Shop on secure sites that have “https” in the address bar and a yellow padlock logo to the right of the Web browser address bar. Double-click on the lock to see a digital certificate of the website. Review these certificates on unfamiliar sites.
    2. Make sure you enter correct URLs. “Hackers often buy misspelled domains to trick people into entering personal information,” according to the website.
    3. Never enter your Social Security number or passwords to e-mail and bank accounts as part of the buying process with online retailers. South Floridians have especially been stung with thieves stealing their Social Security numbers to file fake federal tax refunds before the honest taxpayers can. Earlier this fall, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that Florida has the highest rate of stolen identity tax refund fraud in the nation.
    4. Use different passwords for online retailers, personal e-mail and banks accounts. If hackers crack one password, then they won’t have access to others. Also, don’t save personal information on an online retail website. Retailers will offer convenience and better deals, but many customer databases are breached by identity thieves. It’s not worth the risk.
    5. Beware of phishing e-mail scams that include website links advertising “incredible deals.” Don’t click on them. Type the link directly into your browser.
    6. Use credit cards online, not debit cards, to pay for merchandise. Try to use credit cards with low limits to minimize the damage if a thief takes over the account. Or, use a “one-time” credit card number from payment processors such as PayPal. Also, don’t link a bank account to an online pay service such as PayPal. Hackers could break into the PayPal account and drain money from the linked bank account.
    7. Install and update antivirus, anti-malware and firewall software on your computer. Don’t forget to update its operating system and Internet browser with the latest security patches.


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