7 Tips to Help You Shop Safely and Prevent Identity Theft this Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to be extra mindful of your security and safety while shopping. Identity theft is one of the top concerns when it comes to making purchases, both online and in-person. It’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your identity and personal information while shopping. This article will provide 7 tips to help you shop safely and prevent identity theft this holiday season. From being aware of your surroundings to using a prepaid debit card, these tips will help you stay safe and secure when shopping. With these tips in mind, you can enjoy the holiday season and the shopping experiences it brings without worrying about identity theft.

Be aware of your surroundings when shopping

This image depicts a thief stealing something from a woman’s bag. This image is included in the BPS Security article titled, “7 Tips to Help You Shop Safely and Prevent Identity Theft this Holiday Season”

While browsing through various retailers’ websites, it can be easy to lose track of time and stores. However, when shopping in-person, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. It’s recommended that you shop during regular business hours when there are plenty of people around. Avoid shopping late at night, when there are fewer people around to help you if you need assistance. Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings when purchasing gift cards. Gift cards are a popular gift choice during the holidays, but you want to make sure you aren’t buying a gift card from a retailer that could be susceptible to fraud.

Make sure websites are secure when shopping online

When browsing through websites to purchase gifts, you may want to check to see if the website is secure. A website that’s secure means the site has security protocols in place to prevent unauthorized access. To check if a site is secure, look for the lock icon in your browser’s URL bar. If the site is secure, the icon will look like a closed lock. If the lock is open, the site is not secure. Another way to make sure a site is secure is to look for the “https” in the URL bar. If either of these are present, you can be sure the website is secure, and your sensitive information is protected. When shopping on a secure website, make sure you are on a page that starts with “https://“. If you are on a page that starts with “http://“, the site is not secure. You can also check if a website is secure by going to the SSL certificate tool.

Use a prepaid debit card

This is one of the safest ways to shop online during the holidays. If you’re using a credit card to make an online purchase, the retailer will pull money from your account immediately. Unfortunately, if you’ve been a victim of identity theft, there’s a chance the thief will access your account and steal the money. Using a prepaid debit card allows you to shop online without giving out your credit card information. When making an online purchase, you just put the prepaid debit card number in the cardholder field instead of your credit card information. Prepaid debit cards cannot be used to withdraw money from an ATM. Prepaid debit cards have a positive reputation, and many gift card vendors have stopped accepting credit cards as a form of payment.

Be careful with your personal information

When shopping in-person, make sure you don’t leave your personal information lying around. Don’t write your name or credit card information on gift boxes or gift receipts. Instead, write the information on a piece of paper and then slip it into your pocket or purse. You can also store your information online with a password manager like LastPass. If you’re using an online shopping cart to make purchases, be careful when entering your information. Make sure the website URL is correct, and that you’re on a secure page before entering any personal information. 

Use two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a process where you enter a login code in addition to your password. This login code can be sent to your phone via text or an app. Two-factor authentication can be used when logging in to various websites, including social media and email accounts. When shopping on a website that offers 2FA, enter your password and select “request new code.” Next, select the type of device you want to receive the login code. You can choose your phone or an app, like Google Authenticator or Duo. You’ll receive a login code that will be valid for a certain period. When making online purchases, make sure to use a 2FA that’s only used for online login. Using the 2FA for logging into your phone could give the person access to your phone and all the information stored on it.

Monitor your accounts regularly

While shopping and receiving gifts during the holidays is a fun and exciting time, it can also be a stressful time as well. You may be worried about whether the gifts you receive are what you wanted. You may also be worried about whether a gift you bought for another person is what they wanted. In addition, you may be concerned about whether any purchases you’ve made are valid. While shopping, try to keep track of which gift receipts you are keeping and which ones you are throwing away. If you’re giving gifts, try to keep track of who you have bought gifts for. If you’re receiving gifts, try to keep track of what gifts you have received. By keeping track of these things, you can more easily spot if something is amiss.

Use a credit monitoring service

Credit monitoring services are beneficial to use throughout the year to protect your credit. They are not only beneficial during the holidays, but all year round. There are many different companies that offer credit monitoring services. Some of these companies include Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. If you sign up for a credit monitoring service, these companies will send you alerts if there are any changes to your credit report. These changes could include a new loan application or changes to existing loans.


Identity theft is a serious problem and can happen to anyone. These tips are helpful in preventing identity theft whether shopping online or in-store. With these in mind, you can enjoy the holiday season and the shopping experiences it brings without worrying about your identity or credit information being stolen.

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