READYColorado Blog: Black Friday: A Great Deal for ID Thieves and Scam Artists

The holiday season is upon us.  Black Friday is this week and the retail stores have been bombarding us with advertising for their Black Friday specials. Do you plan all year for those Black Friday shopping deals? Do you camp out to be the first through the doors when they open after Thanksgiving dinner? Beware! You may be camping with the enemy. Identity thieves and scam artists plan all year for this shopping holiday. To continue with our campaign for Colorado Consumer Protection Month, we have a few helpful tips to help you reduce your risk of being a victim:

  • Be a Safe Shopper
    • You will probably only need one or two credit cards to shop, so leave the others at home.
    • Do not carry a pure or wallet, if possible.
    • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
    • Avoid overloading yourself with packages.  It is important to maintain clear visability and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
    • Do not hesitate to ask store or mall security if you need and escort out to your car after dark. 
  • Protect your Credit Information
    • When standing in line or checking out, someone standing close to you could easily see your credit card and snap a photo with a smartphone. Keep your credit card secure in your wallet or pocket until you are ready to pay, and try to keep it securely in your hand as you run it through the machine so that it cannot be seen by others.
    • Cover your hand when entering your PIN. Even though the new machines look like they keep your information secure, you can never be too careful.
    • Do not be shy about asking the person behind you to step back. You do not need to be crowded or rushed through your transaction, even on Black Friday.
    • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. The  thieves know that you have valuable items stashed under that blanket.
  • Monitor your accounts.
    • When you get home from shopping check your accounts online and make sure only the purchases you made are showing in your statement.
    • Check accounts regularly and report any suspicious activities to your financial institution right away.
  • Report Crime.
    • If you discover that you are a victim of credit card theft or a data breach report it to your local law enforcment agency.
    • Consider reporting these crimes to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
    • Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureausPlace a fraud alert on your credit files.  This will require credit agencies to contact you before opening any new accounts or making changes to your current accounts.  

Equifax

1-800-525-6285

Experian

1-888-397-3742

Transunion

1-800-680-7289

 

This blog post is from information shared by the Stop Fraud Colorado and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. For more information and more ID theft and fraud prevention tips, visit the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s new Facebook Page, dedicated to ID Theft and Fraud related issues.   Like them at https://www.facebook.com/CBI.IDTheft.                   

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