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Protect your identity during the holiday shopping season

Eileen AJ Connelly from The Associated Press has written a good article about keeping your identity safe online and offline during this holiday season. A huge number of people have their identity stolen each year both through physical theft and online transactions.

What's special about the holiday season? Gail Cunningham of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling says "ID theft is obviously a threat any time of year, but particularly during the holidays, thieves and crooks come out from under their rocks to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers," His organization offers tips for consumers at www.protectyouridnow.org.

Eileen mentions the following about protecting your identity online:

Times are tough, but be careful when seeking out a great deal on an unfamiliar Web site. While shopping online is generally safe, Anne Wallace of the Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit funded by the financial services industry, said it makes sense to be wary. "Bargains that look too good to be true, probably are," she said. "Before you make a major purchase, the first step is to find out do they have contact information? Is there a street address, is there a phone number? Can you reach somebody?" Shoppers can also check out companies through consumer advocates like the Better Business Bureau, which posts reports on its Web site, www.bbb.org.

What's more, when making online purchases look for symbols that appear during checkout to let you know the site is secure. Among the common markers are the "padlock" symbol or the letter "i" after the "http" on a Web address. Issued by Symantec and other companies, these symbols let you know that that the Web site has a so-called SSL certificate, and the information you're entering is encrypted. Some Web merchants may also have an extended validation SSL certificate, which triggers some versions of Internet Explorer and other browsers to display a green address bar for "safe" purchases. None of these products is foolproof, however, so shoppers still need to pay attention to other aspects of the site.

Attention holiday shoppers: Protect your identity - [Yahoo Finance]

Originally posted on Sun Dec 7, 2008
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