BALTIMORE, MD — Nov. 1, 2018 — EZShield + IdentityForce issued five tips today to help consumers protect themselves from identity theft during the holiday shopping season. These tips can help safeguard consumers whether they are purchasing gifts on mobile phones, keeping their children’s identity safe, or returning items.
“This year the number of breaches have been at an all-time high and we expect that identity thieves will continue to be active, if not more so, during the holidays,” said Rich Scott, Chief Commercial Officer of EZShield + IdentityForce. “These are tips for consumers that can easily be put into action to protect themselves from a variety of scams. This is the season for enjoying time with your family and friends – not a time to feel the sting of identity theft.”
Mobile phones are expected to be a major source of purchases for holiday shopping. The percentage of online consumers who will use their smartphones to shop will grow to 16 percent this year from 12 percent in 2017, according to PwC’s annual survey. It may be fast and easy, but protecting your financial and personal information should be a top priority. Here are five tips for consumers to protect themselves:
- Take Precautions when Making Holiday Purchases with a Smartphone – Everyone has heard advice around avoiding using public Wi-Fi and using a secure payment method with strong passwords. However, identity theft scams are getting more sophisticated through the abundance of both fake mobile apps and ads found throughout social media. Before you think of making a purchase through an ad on Instagram or Facebook or even downloading a coupon, perform an Internet search about the ad you received for words like “complaint” or “reviews” and you may uncover a scam related to the promotional offer.
- Be Smart about Application Downloads – During the holidays, smartphones are often gifted and there’s a lot of excitement to download new apps. Apple reported that during the week starting on Christmas Eve 2017, a record number of customers made purchases or downloaded apps from the App Store, spending over $890 million in that seven-day period. Be cautious about what you are downloading and pay attention to details. Scammers have been taking advantage of those signing up for subscriptions by luring them into a short-lived free trial that then converts into an expensive, recurring expense.
- Protect Children’s Identity on Gaming Consoles – While children will be eager to play on their new console, be sure to review the rules and set up the system with them prior to them playing. It’s important to create a strong password that includes upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Make children aware that game masters will never ask for login information. Before purchasing a game online, make sure the URL of the website begins with “https”; use a credit card instead of debit card. View more tips here for protecting your child while gaming.
- Return Fraud – Remember to take receipts out of your shopping bags when you are returning items. You can have personal information on those receipts that identity thieves can use to steal your identity.
- Educate Tweens and Teens about Safe Online Shopping – Teens will be shopping online this year to buy holiday gifts for friends and family. It’s a great time to encourage teenagers to get a head start in protecting themselves from identity theft. Educate them on how to protect their bank accounts by managing passwords and using anti-virus software or internet security software.
EZShield helps trusted partners protect their most valuable asset – their customer relationships — through secure, digital identity protection and resolution services that enhance the value of existing products. The company is consistently recognized by Javelin as a leader in Identity Protection. Owned by the Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C., EZShield supports thousands of financial institutions through its award-winning solutions, delivered on a secure, flexible platform that is backed by best-in-class customer support. Follow EZShield on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, engage with us on LinkedIn, and join us on Google+. Learn more at www.ezshield.com.
In August 2018, IdentityForce was acquired by EZShield, a portfolio company of The Wicks Group (“Wicks”) and the leader in digital identity protection and resolution. For 40 years, IdentityForce, Inc. has provided best-in-class, highly scalable, award-winning identity theft, privacy and credit protection solutions to consumers, businesses, and government agencies. With IdentityForce, members benefit from the most robust and award-winning identity protection, going as deep as Dark Web monitoring to keep personal information safe. The U.S. government awarded IdentityForce in 2015 elite Tier One status as an approved provider of identity protection services for data breaches affecting over 21.5 million people. Follow IdentityForce on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook, engage with us on LinkedIn, and join us on Google+. Learn more at www.identityforce.com.