Experts Warn Online Shoppers About Identity Theft
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Cyber Monday has passed, but many well known retailers are still offering holiday deals all week.
This is prompting consumers to put sensitive information online, sometimes on unsecured sites; this could make them vulnerable to hackers.
"They start tracking where you go. They start looking at where you've been, and if they record your history correctly, they can actually back track and look at your receipt with your own credit card information," said Ray Cross, co-owner of Technode Cowboys.
Cross says three tips will help protect holiday shoppers from hackers this season as they search online for the best deals.
First, know who you are buying from. If you are buying from a bidding website like eBay, look at the seller's reviews. Cross says 12 views aren't enough; a trustworthy seller should have hundreds of positive views.
Next, be sure your transactions are secure. Large retailers will likely have an "http" in the URL, deeming them a secure transaction. "What that does is scrambles all the information going from your computer to the server and keeps somebody from hooking onto your router and picking up that information as it's transmitted," said Cross.
In addition, avoid compromising your identity by using a prepaid credit card for online shopping. Once the funds have been used, the card is worthless.
However, there are instances of identity theft every day in the U.S.
Kent Shettler, a financial adviser at Raymond James, says there are steps you can take to minimize the damage to your credit score and reputation if your identity is compromised.
"First and foremost is you need to call the three different credit reporting agencies and alert them that you suspect your identity has been stolen," said Shettler.
Shettler says the credit bureaus will put a freeze on your score, preventing the thief from opening credit cards in your name.
The next step, Shettler says, is to contact your bank and credit card companies to monitor the extent of the damage and alert them of the potential threat.
If you do plan on shopping this holiday season, experts say to avoid the deals that are too good to be true, because they probably are.