by Lori Lawson
We’re in to the third week of December and Christmas is fast approaching. We’re all getting into the holiday spirit and checking our lists. Well, others are checking their lists, too, and surprise, surprise they also want a great Christmas. The difference between them and the rest of us is that they steal their Christmas.
Last week I was at a local public library at 4:30 in the afternoon. In the space of 15 minutes an elderly woman had her purse stolen and a young man had his backpack stolen. Both had their wallets in those belongings and in the case of the woman’s purse, she had her Medicare card in her wallet. Do you know what’s on Medicare cards? Social Security numbers…either the Social Security number of the beneficiary or their spouse. It’s believed that there was only one thief in this instance and now that thief has two wallets with cash, credit cards, driver’s licenses, loyalty cards and in one case a Medicare card with the beneficiary’s Social Security number on it. In that fifteen minutes those two lives were turned upside down and the thief hit the jackpot.
This is the time of year when thieves of all shapes and sizes come out. Although the organized, large scale identity theft groups hit year round, large numbers of petty thieves come out before the holidays. This is when you need to be especially mindful of where your personal information is. Do all the little things to keep it as safe as possible. Shred junk mail, don’t leave personal information in your car, monitor your credit charges, and above all keep your eye on your belongings even in seemingly safe places like your public library. Now will the personal information that was stolen from the two victims I just talked about end up in the hands of a true identity thief. Hard to say. Maybe he, it was established it was a he, just needed the cash and credit cards, but if he knows the value of the information he has, he’ll sell it and really clean up.
Travelling during the holidays sets up its own unique set of circumstances, so if you’re heading out of town over the holidays, the following are some things to think about. Do you fall into the “do” or “don’t” category when considering these precautions?
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
Lori Lawson is an IDShield specialist. Visit her website at newlineassociates.com.
New Line Associates, 2111 El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 92054. firstname.lastname@example.org