For more information:
Andrew K. Johnson
Communications Manager/GreenPath Financial Wellness
(248) 488-0419
mediarelations@greenpath.org

'Tis the Season: Keep an Eye on Your Credit Cards and Budgets While Shopping

Protect your identity and pocketbook, whether you are in-line or on-line

  • In-line? 5 Tips to Keep Your ID Safe in Public
  • On-line? 5 Tips to Keep Your ID Safe Online
  • ID Theft Victim? 3 Contacts You Need to Make

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – November 25, 2013) – This holiday season will have the traditional masses of shoppers taking to area malls and stores, while many will opt to shop online from their couch. Whichever way you choose to shop, GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide, nonprofit credit counseling and education organization, wants to remind shoppers that identity thieves could be lurking, waiting for a slip-up and an opportunity to steal their identity.

“Technology today goes well beyond pick pocketing or taking a purse,” said Katie Moore, GreenPath Financial Wellness counselor. “Identity thieves have so much technology at their fingertips to steal credit card numbers and build a personal profile on an individual. If you let your guard down, even for a moment, you could have your identity stolen.”

5 TIPS – KEEPING YOUR ID SAFE IN PUBLIC

GreenPath provides 5 quick tips for consumers on protecting their identity this holiday season and throughout the year:

  1. Before you leave your house, take out the credit cards that you know you will not be using.
  2. Copy the front and back information on your card, so you have contact information quickly in case your card is stolen. 
  3. Do not carry your Social Security card with you. That number is vital in opening new credit accounts.
  4. Watch where you leave your card when you shop. “Don’t leave your credit card on the counter with people around,” said Moore. “A simple click of a camera phone or good memory can capture your name, card number and expiration date.”  A thief can then use that number instantly to buy goods online.
  5.  Keep your receipts in your purse or wallet, not in the bag. This will make it easier to track your merchandise spending and help you to stay within your budget. 

5 TIPS – KEEPING YOUR IDENTITY SAFE ON-LINE

If you are shopping online this season, here are 5 quick tips to keep your identification safe:

  1. Always initiate the transaction yourself. Do not open a store’s website through a received email. Physically type in the web address of the outlet and look around carefully to make sure it is the actual website.
  2. When entering credit card information as part of transaction, make sure the web address starts with a secure extension, shown as https://. 
  3. If you shop online in a public location, like at a library, make sure you log out and click the “back” button, when you are finished with a shopping session.
  4. Shopping at the coffee house? Use their approved, secure wi-fi server.
  5. Use your credit card wisely when shopping online. The added convenience of shopping from your couch might cause you to drop your guard. Be aware of your online surroundings at all times.

3 TIPS – CONTACTS TO MAKE IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF ID THEFT

GreenPath gives three contacts you need to make, if you become a victim of identity theft:

  1. Contact the three credit bureaus and tell them that you have been a victim of identity theft.

Equifax fraud division
800-525-6285
www.fraudalerts.equifax.com

Experian fraud division
888-397-3742
www.experian.com/fraud

Trans Union fraud division
800-680-7289
www.transunion.com
 

  1. Contact your creditors directly and ask to speak to someone in the security department. Freeze the existing account.

 

  1. Contact local law enforcement and get a police report. This will serve as documentation that a crime has occurred.

“It can be a time-consuming process to clear your name when you have been a victim of identity theft,” said Moore. “By taking some preventive measures, you can ensure a smooth shopping experience on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season.”

Keep up with GreenPath Financial Wellness on social media at www.facebook.com/greenpathdebt and www.twitter.com/greenpathdebt.

For more information, log on to www.greenpath.org or call (866) 648-8122.

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Keep up with GreenPath Financial Wellness on social media at www.facebook.com/greenpathdebt and www.twitter.com/greenpathdebt

GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 55 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.