Protect your ID while shopping

‘Tis the season for holiday-shopper predators to use any and all opportunities to steal your personal and financial information.

In a recent post, I commented on how one Wisconsin State Senator provided good information on using a budget, and I also noted the importance of protecting your identity. I recently visited the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection’s Web site (OPP), which has a number of fact sheets available to the public.

Being a part-time sales associate for a local retailer, I’ve seen a number of ways people do not protect themselves. They feel hurried, thinking about the next store or needing to chase their kids, so they leave a credit card on the counter. In other cases, some people still haven’t learned that you should not carry your Social Security card with you. A number of people still pay by check, and some of them have just about every piece of information needed for an identity thief to succeed.

Of course, I think businesses can also help its customers do a better job of informing them and helping them out. Don’t accept a credit card without checking the signature. Make sure that the person using the card is the same person whose name is on the card. Tell people that you will only accept a driver’s license or photo ID for a check, and tell them not to carry their Social Security card. Lock up their credit card slips. And program your registers so that they don’t print all of the credit card numbers on any of the paperwork.

The following OPP pages are particularly informative in educating everyone about protecting your identity while shopping, both this holiday season and year-round.

The Basics of Safeguarding your Information

What’s in Your Wallet May Be a Bonanza for Identity Thieves

Protecting your Identity while Shopping

Identity Theft Consumer Tips (PDF brochure)

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