An identity fraud-related crime occurs in the U.S. every two seconds, affecting 13.1 million people and costing over $18 billion in 2013. The risk of identity theft has captured considerable attention recently following several high-profile data breaches involving well-known retailers. These events have no doubt spurred many merchants to reevaluate their data protection policies, and to ensure their practices are consistent with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. They have also brought to the fore the need for consumers to remain vigilant as they shop both in-store and online.
The holiday shopping rush creates even greater opportunity for identity theft and fraud due to the increase in transactions and the “hustle and bustle” atmosphere in many stores. Keep these tips in mind when shopping this season:
1. Don’t carry debit or credit cards that you don’t plan to use on a particular shopping trip.
2. Make a copy of the front and back of each payment card and leave it in a safe place at home. Then, you’ll have all the details you need to report a stolen card.
3. Use common sense when checking out – ensure no one can see the keypad when you enter your PIN, and don’t leave debit or credit cards in plain sight where other shoppers could view the account numbers and other information. Confirm you have your payment card with you before you leave the store.
4. Never carry your Social Security Card in your wallet. Your SSN can be used by a thief to open new credit accounts in your name.
5. When shopping online, be sure the connection is secure before entering any payment information. You can verify this by confirming that the web address starts with https://.
Skillsoft offers privacy and data security training for corporate employees, as well as PCI training for point-of-sale workers. Learn more about this and our other workplace compliance solutions by visiting: http://skillsoftcompliance.com/.
Charlie Voelker, Esq. is the Legal Compliance Solution Manager at Skillsoft.
 Card Data Breaches and Inadequate Consumer Password Habits Fuel Disturbing Fraud Trends. Javelin Strategy and Research. February 2014.