With this in mind, The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. (NYSE: THG) offers tips to help shoppers keep their identities and wallets safe this holiday shopping season, both at the mall and online.
"We see the threat of identity theft grows as consumers do more shopping, and making it worse is identity thieves who are increasingly savvy and aggressive targeting holiday shoppers," said Mark R. Desrochers, president, personal lines insurance at The Hanover. "Identity thieves seek to take advantage of the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But, with a few important steps, people can protect their identity and wallets from thieves who prey on unsuspecting holiday shoppers."
While Shopping At the Mall
-- Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write it on your checks. Only give out your Social Security number when absolutely necessary and required.
-- Protect your PIN. Never write a PIN on a credit/debit card or on a slip of paper kept in your wallet.
-- Watch out for "shoulder surfers". Use your free hand to shield the keypad when using checkout key pads and ATMs.
-- Don't leave your credit card visible for extended time. ID thieves can quickly write down your card number, or may even try to take pictures of it with their mobile devices.
-- Keep your receipts. Promptly compare receipts with account statements.
Watch for unauthorized transactions.
When Shopping Online:
-- Think before you act. Be wary of emails that offer deals that sound too good to be true, and implore you to act immediately.
-- When in doubt, throw it out. If an e-mail looks suspicious, it's best to simply delete it or mark it as junk, and do not reply.
-- Make sure the websites you visit are legitimate. This includes a closed padlock on your web browser or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.
-- Protect your personal information. Make sure the information requested of you is limited to only what is needed to complete the transaction.
-- Keep a clean machine. All the devices you use for shopping including smartphones and tablets should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and apps.
-- Be savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots. Don't share personal or financial information over an unsecured Wi-Fi network, which could be a haven for ID thieves. Secure networks require a password for access.
-- Use safe payment options. Credit cards are generally the safest option.
-- Keep a paper trail. Save records of your online transactions. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them and, if there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
These tips will help minimize the risk of ID theft when shopping, but they do not guarantee you won't encounter ID theft.
In addition to these prevention tips, The Hanover offers the Identity Protection Program to their home, condo and tenant policyholders. The program offers a variety of proactive and resolution services, reimbursement coverage and more, all for customers' identity protection needs.
For more information about how to keep your identity safe, please talk to your local independent agent and view our "Protecting Against Identify Theft"
Infographic at www.hanover.com.
ABOUT THE HANOVER
The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc., based in Worcester, Mass., is one of the top