Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The Knox County Sheriff's Office would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Here are some tips for those of you who will be doing some shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday!
DO NOT USE YOUR DEBIT CARD
Your debit card can give a hacker an open door into your bank accounts, so don't use it to shop. Under the laws that govern the fraudulent use of your debit card, you may loose all or some of the amounts involved if you don't respond in time to the theft. Even the new computer chip cards won't protect you if you are using it to shop over the internet.
USE A PRE-PAID CREDIT CARD INSTEAD
For online and in-store shopping, consider using a pre-paid credit card. These can be quickly obtained and will not allow a thief access to your bank account or other credit card accounts. Plus, a pre-paid card has the added benefit of letting you limit your spending before you start shopping.
DO NOT LEAVE YOUR WALLET OR PURSE IN YOUR CAR
A locked car door is no protection if the thief is determined to get in to look for your wallet, check book, credit cards, etc. It's always "shopping season" for thieves who work in organized gangs, so make it a habit to never leave these items in your vehicle, no matter how quickly you expect to return.
TAKE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD OUT OF YOUR WALLET
Your social security card is prized information for a thief because it can be used and re-used for repeated fraudulent activities. If you must carry the number with you, write the number on a separate piece of paper as if it was a phone number (place a "1" as the first or last number to make it appear as a ten-digit phone number.) In this way, the information will appear as (XXX) XXX-XXX1 instead of your social security number XXX-XX-XXXX.
CHANGE YOUR PASSWORDS
If you have some favorite online shopping sites, make sure that you are using different passwords for each one. Using the same password across all of the internet sites that you visit means that hackers only have to figure out one password and will be able to use your identity to shop on several sites or use your financial information.
RECORD YOUR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION
Write down the number of the credit card you will be using to shop just in case the card is lost - or worse - stolen. Before you leave home, make sure that you have recorded the number of the card and the customer service number on the card so you can call the issuer immediately to report it as missing.
IS IT THE REAL WEBSITE?
It is easy to be lured to a website for deals that sound too good to be true, and thieves are hoping that will happen. Make sure that any website you visit to make purchases is the real deal. Don't open links from attachments; instead, use your browser to go to the business' actual website to make your purchase. If you are still in doubt, either don't make the purchase, or call the legitimate store phone number and make the purchase via phone.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE SHOPPING SEASON!
These tips were provided by the Maine Identity Services, LLC.