Holiday Shopping and Identity Theft
Did you shop for gifts this holiday season using credit or debit cards? I think that most of us did.
Do you shred your credit and debit card statements, or do you throw them out? If you are throwing them out, you are putting yourself at greater risk for identity theft.
Holiday Cards/Letters and Identity Theft
Did you send or receive holiday cards with cute pictures and letters containing all kinds of personal information? We didn’t send one out, but I definitely received a few from family and friends.
Have you ever considered how much personal information goes into those letters? Information that could easily be used by a thief to figure out online passwords?
Most people don’t create strong passwords, nor do they create unique passwords for different sites. It is still very common for people to use pet names, important dates (birthday, anniversary, etc.), names of favorite athletes, school mascots, words associated with their hobbies or sports, favorite TV shows or movies, names of family members, and parts of their street address.
How many of those personal letters you received had statements like this?
- “In September, Joe and I celebrated our 20th anniversary.” (Now, the thief just needs to guess the day of the month to guess this common password.)
- “In June, we celebrated Joey Jr’s 5th birthday.” (Again, all the thief needs to guess is the day of the month to guess this common password.)
- “In October, we visited the University of Oklahoma, Joe’s alma mater, where he, and other past players were honored at homecoming.” (All the thief needs to find out/guess is the sport, position, jersey number, mascot, etc. that Joe used as his password.)
- “In August, we said goodbye to Fluffy, our 15 year old cat. She will be missed.” (Now, the thief has Joe’s pet’s name, a common thing people use for their password.)
- “In March, Joe and I went on a trip to Florida to see my favorite baseball player, Chipper Jones, practice in his final spring training.” (Now, if your friends, like many, used info on their favorite athlete for a password, the thief just has to try out Chipper Jones’s jersey number, stats, position, etc.)
All of those could give a thief clues to your passwords, or those of your family and friends. Would you want identity thieves to know that information? What about information about your kids or the kids of family and friends who send these letters? I know I wouldn’t want any of that information in the hands of criminals.
I wish I could keep every letter and picture that I get, but I can’t even keep all of my own kids artwork, schoolwork, etc. There just isn’t enough room in my house. I often scan the letters and pictures so that I can go back and look at them later.
But, I don’t just toss the originals in the garbage. I want to protect my family and friends as much as myself, so I shred all of the letters and pictures that I can’t keep. I recommend that you do the same.
Facts About the Fellowes Powershred P-12C
Fellowes offers a variety of shredders with amazing features, so you are sure to find one that is perfect for you. Here are a few facts about the P-12C, which is the one that I use.
Perfect for finance-savvy moms and paper-ridden college students, the P-12C’s slim profile design and innovative technologies make it a great choice for at-home and dorm room use.
Fellows Powershred P-12C features include:
- Cross-Cut blades that destroy 12 sheets of paper into approximately 309 particles per sheet, making it extremely difficult to reassemble
- SafeSense® technology which automatically disables the shredder when hands touch the paper opening
- The ability to shred credit cards, paper clips, staples and junk mail for added convenience
Buy the Powershred Fellowes P-12C
The Powershred P-12C can be purchased at Walmart Stores nationwide and at Walmart.com for a suggested retail price of $99.97.
Do you worry about identity theft? What do you do to protect your identity?
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