I love LOVE the holidays. Between the holiday decorations, family visiting, and scrumptious food, it is most definitely my most favorite time of year. I am dreading taking it all down, packing away the holiday decor and spirit with the excess wrapping paper and proceeding on with the new year with this holiday in the rearview. But this season has been a busy one, my busiest yet, and despite the dream-like time-off I’ve been experiencing, with my bank card being used more than normal, it was a startling wake-up call to receive a fraud alert email to spoil my festive holiday mood.
My heart sank. I had just experienced my credit card number being stolen a few months back, and this was the new card I was using. So afraid, I clicked open the email.
Realizing just how much I’d used my bank card for my holiday purchases, I crossed my fingers in hopes it was just nothing and dialed their number while simultaneously logging into Lifelock to check out my status. Relieved and thankful Lifelock read nothing wrong, I was also assured by the USAA rep that they were just taking a precaution, given my recent history, by temporarily placing a hold on my card to ensure I was indeed making all these purchases. Whew!
And this is why I love USAA – for looking out for me in the wake of having my card compromised.
And this is why I love Lifelock – for having my information monitored, and giving me peace of mind that they have my back.
I am really fortunate to have come out of this holiday shopping season unscathed, because many folks do not. Did you know that 20% of identity theft victims who knew how their information was stolen, 26% of victims who experienced theft from their existing bank account, and 29% of victims who had multiple kinds of theft (bank, credit, other) all indicated it was from having their wallet lost or stolen? Identity theft is real, and I am so grateful to be protected. But are you?
Here’s some really useful travel and shopping safety tips, as well a great tip offered by my mother, a very very smart and savvy lady, on how to stay safe this holiday season and beyond:
(My mom’s tip:) When shopping with a cart, belt your purse or bag to the cart, so that it can’t be stolen. She’s a floral manager in a grocery store, and she recommends all patrons anywhere and everywhere do this while out shopping to keep your bags safe.
Wear your purse cross-body, so that it cannot be stolen off your body. Purses held in your hands or over the shoulder are far more likely to be stolen because it’s easier to grab and go.
If your car has a remote for keyless entry, walk with it in your hands and your finger on the “panic” button, in case you are approached or attacked, you can press it quickly. If you do not have a keyless entry remote, hold one of your car or house keys in your hand as you navigate a parking lot to use as a weapon in case you are approached or attacked.
Do not hold your credit card in the line at the store. In fact, do not take it out of your wallet or purse until your total has been given and you are about to pay. You CAN ask the cashier to swipe your card for you, if you fear your card # might be compromised by a device hooked up to the customer keypad.
Pay for gas in-store, and have the cashier swipe your card for you. Gas stations are a high target for credit card theft. (I learned this the hard way.)
Do you have any safety tips like this that you use regularly? I’d love to hear of more things you do to keep you, your family , and your belongings safe.
As a Lifelock Ambassador, I am being compensated to discuss holiday safety and shopping tips to help keep you safe, but my advice, experiences, and learning-the-hard-way moments are my own.