How to prevent identity theft and scams while holiday shopping

Posted at 11:47 AM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 14:54:23-05

Shoppers are busy hitting the stores and so are scammers.

Adam Price, Regional Director at the Better Business Bureau in Waco, said more traffic in stores increases chances for your identity being stolen.

"The more that are out there shopping, the more at risk you are for identity theft,” Price said.

Even before checking out at the register, your information could be compromised by scammers using advanced technology. Experts recommend that you move to another line if you sense someone acting strange around you.

"There are con-men out there that have the technology to be able to read your card with handheld devices,” Price warned.

It is also much safer to pay with a credit card rather than a debit card.

Shoppers are also prone to falling victims of scammers from the comfort of their own home.

"Make sure that if you're shopping online that the website is secure because that is a huge aspect of identity theft today,” Price added.

All secure URLs will read “https” at the beginning of the address bar.

Your e-mail inbox is also not exempt from scammers.

"If I get an email that says there's been a delay in the delivery of your products, we need to confirm some information. It's much better to pick up the phone and call directly who the vendor is because these are often spoofed emails,” Price said.

And, if you're shopping at small, local businesses, it might be best to pay with cash.

"Most of the data breaches are happening at smaller mom and pop operations. That might be because their technology is not up to date,” Price said.

If you think your credit card information has been stolen, the first thing experts advise you do is call your bank to freeze your account. And, if you have been victim of a scam, the Better Business Bureau has a scam tracker on their website where you can report the scam and see other scams that people in your area have reported.

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