How to Prevent Fraud During the Holidays

The holiday times are busier for everyone, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take precautions to prevent fraud. With an increase in holiday spending, you’ll likely use your credit card or debit card more often during the next month. We still need to keep our financial information safe both in stores and online. You can help prevent fraud during the holidays with these security tips.

Keep Your Credit Card Information Secure:

Check your credit card statements against your receipts (sorted by credit card). Verify your charges regularly to detect any unusual activity or purchases you didn’t make. You can also check your credit report ahead of time from one of the free services available and monitor changes to it.

Check for ATM Skimming Devices:

ATM skimming devices are a threat that are being found close to home. Even as close as Staunton, VA, according to a recent email from Dupont Community Credit Union. Here are some suggested precautions you can take to prevent fraud when using ATMs:

  • Carefully inspect card readers before inserting your card. Skimming equipment is often loosely attached for easy removal. If it’s loose or comes off, you have likely discovered a skimmer.
  • Watch for unusual marks, scratches or loose pieces of equipment on any card reader.
  • If you think the ATM may have a skimmer on it, report it to the financial institution/ATM owner immediately.

** Please take a little extra time to inspect an ATM before using it.

Get an Identity Protection Service:

FraudScoutYou can protect your identity with services like FraudScout by Rockingham Group. FraudScout offers credit and fraud monitoring and proactive educational information and tools for an ongoing offense against fraud. In the case your identity is stolen, it provides full identity theft recovery assistance and document and identification replacement. Protect your identity with FraudScout.

Another identity theft protection provider is Legal Shield. Unlike LifeLock and MetLife, LegalShield continues to grow in market share. Get information about LegalShield identity protection services.

For additional tips on fraud prevention, visit

How to Protect & Restore Your Identity: Identity Theft Plan Membership

How do you protect your identity from being stolen? How do you restore your identity if it has already been stolen? There are plans available for less than $1 a day.  Some call it an Identity Theft Plan.

What is an Identity Theft Plan?
With an Identity Theft Plan, you register your demographics, email, address, banks, credit cards, etc. Then various Internet websites are monitored for unusual activity, and notify you if your data is used.

If you’re not registered, then there is no monitoring. So, you want to make sure you’ve registered your data points before a theft occurs. Then the monitoring activity can notify you if somebody uses them.

Why do you need an Identity Theft Plan?
In one respect, we know almost 80 million people’s data points have been taken. It’s only a matter of time until they are used.

Just today we learned of another health insurer that lost the identity data points for subscribers, including bank and credit card numbers. It was covered on national news. The total number was not disclosed. Here again, another reason to have an identity restoration plan.

On Feb 5, 2015 (10 days before the end of the healthcare deadline) Anthem health insurance disclosed 78.8 million customers’ demographics, which includes Social Security, date of birth, and address, was taken by an “unknown source”.

In the past it has been companies like Staples and Target that have experienced data theft, which happened about a year ago. But this recent news shows a trend that hackers are now trying to target health insurers. The need for protection has increased due to electronic-based systems.

What could happen if your identity is stolen?
If your data points have been stolen, it allows somebody to start filing your tax return for you. It also means they can take your money and your return. This creates a problem when you do file your return, because the IRS doesn’t allow you to file twice.

This will be an ongoing conversation point over the next year. It would make sense to have a plan in place for the next 365 days… just in case. Some people use Life Lock, which you see advertised, and their coverage is good, but it’s not as comprehensive as LegalShield’s Identity Theft Plan.

Features of LegalShield’s Identity Theft Plan:
Part of LegalShield’s process is to register your information first. When your identity has been stolen and the possibility of it being used exists, Legal Shield monitors various Internet and websites to notify you when it is used. The restoration process starts with:

  • Notification to one or three national credit bureaus
  • Notification to banks
  • Notification and identity restoration with IRS, plus more

Learn more about LegalShield’s Identity Theft Plan (IDShield Plans) including the activities covered by the membership. It also allows you to purchase the membership so you can get covered now!

Remember, it’s less that $1 a day for your peace of mind…that’s almost the same cost as aspirin. Think of the headaches you’re avoiding!