News & Resources

Holiday season creates identity theft risk

Dec 16, 2013 Dave King

With millions of Americans shopping online to purchase gifts for friends and family members this holiday season, identity thieves are waiting for the opportunity to steal personal information.

More people are shopping via smartphones and tablets, which puts them at greater risk, according to Main Street.

"One of the easiest ways for thieves to steal identities on a tablet or smartphone is when it is not password protected," Rip Mason, LegalShield's CEO, told the news source. "It may be inconvenient to enter a password each time a tablet or smartphone is used but it will definitely help protect information."

Identity theft is a damaging crime at any time of year, but during the holidays it can be worse. For this reason, short term lenders and other financial institutions needs to step up ID verification procedures to be one of the first lines of defense against this crime.

These lenders can also provide customers with tips on how to avoid identity theft when shopping via smartphones and tablets. According to Sileo, people using these devices should make sure they are password protected. And this doesn't mean consumers should use easy-to-remember codes like their birthday or significant other's name. It needs to be a unique combination of letters, numbers and symbols.

Another way tablet and smartphone shoppers can avoid identity theft is to only use protected Wi-Fi connections. This means that products shouldn't be purchased when at the coffee shop or on a train. The best place to buy gifts on a tablet or smartphone is at home, as long as the wireless network is password protected, because identity thieves can still steal information from people in the comfort of their own home.