RICHMOND (WRIC) - This time of year, people are making more transactions than they are during any other times of the year.
Holiday shopping brings big deals, big crowds, and big opportunities for your personal banking information to be stolen.
"There is so much financial activity that goes on around the holiday," says cyber crime expert Chip Muir.
Muir says people will often let their guards down, and pay more attention to finding the best bang for their buck, and less attention to their financial security.
"Whenever people go Christmas shopping and they are carrying around a number of bags and there is a lot of crowds at the store and everyone is hustling around, it's very easy for someone to misplace a package especially if that package might be a purse or a wallet."
The next common form of identity theft - Internet shopping.
Thieves know this time of year people are looking for the best deals, and will often target consumers with fake email ads.
But it's not only sales ads to watch out for.
"People have a giving spirit at the holidays and they will receive solicitations to donate to charities and a lot of those are fictitious emails."
All major banks now offer online banking, and experts say it is important to always monitor your online accounts.
"Go onto your credit card website," Muir says. "Make sure that all the purchases that are showing up are purchases you have actually made."
If you do notice fraudulent activity on any of your accounts, it's important to identify it and alert your bank immediately because the longer you allow it to go in it's like the more of you there become.
Muir also says look for this symbol on websites you may be purchasing from, it ensures the website you are on is in fact a safe one.
Muir also says never use your debit or bank card for online shopping, instead have a credit card that is set aside just for online shopping.
Also, make sure you know your credit report. You can check that for free here: annualcreditreport.com.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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