Monday, December 11, 2006


I am trying to do something this year that I have not succeeded in doing during other holiday seasons----have my Christmas gifts mailed early enough that I do not need to pay extra for faster delivery. I am done with the gifts for the grandkids and half done with the rest of family and friends. I am doing a lot of this online this year as I dread the long wait in line at Postal Annex where I go. Because I am used to shopping online, my concern with giving out my credit card information is less than it used to be. But, I must admit that I still get a little nervous, especially when I am visiting a new website that I have not used before. I have talked with others who are concerned about identity theft, not only in the online world but in the real world as well.

I received the latest issue of The Costco Connection the other day and they had an article about identity theft during the holiday season which I thought that I would share with you. The article was written by Stephanie E. Ponder for Costco.

Close the Door to Identity Theft during the Holiday Season

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, many shoppers can be at risk for identity theft--often through the loss of credit cards or other important pieces identification. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind by guarding against one of the fastest growing types of crime in the country.

Here are a few tips to help you guard against identity theft.
* Do not carry your Social Security card, passport or birth certificate while you're out shopping. The loss of a Social Security card--or the theft of that numer--could allow identity thieves to set up new credit card accounts in your name, but at a different address that may go undetected.
* Carry only the ID cards and credit cards that are absolutely necessary for that shopping trip. Credit cards should be signed with "See picture ID" on the back in permanent ink.
* Look out for "shoulder surfers", people who hover near shoppers and watch them as they carry out transactions at ATMs or checkout counters.
* Use a crosscut shredder to safely dispose of tax-related and financial papers, as well as mail such as credit card or calling-plan offers.
* Remember, cordless phones are essentially short-range radios whose broadcasts can be monitored by strangers. When using a cell phone in a public place, be careful what you divulge; wait until you're at home to call in an order for last-minute holiday gifts.
* Minimize the information you share, especially on checks.

It seems a shame that we need to think about this kind of stuff, but there are people out there who make their living by preying on unsuspecting people; so it is always wise to just remember some of the steps we can take to protect ourself and our identity.