In recognition of December as Identity Theft Prevention Month, on Monday, state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis provides tips to protect yourself this holiday season.
Experts say identity theft can happen to anyone, and it is important to know what you can do to reduce your risk during this busy time of year.
“Florida continues to face a fraud epidemic, as our state currently ranks second in fraud and identity theft reports nationwide. That is why it is so important to educate yourself and stay alert, so you don’t fall victim to a scammer looking to make a quick buck during the holidays. If you feel you’ve been a victim of fraud, report it immediately at FraudFreeFlorida.com,” Patronis said on Monday.
The CFO’s office offered the following Identity Theft Prevention Month Tips:
- Use cash or credit cards over debit when making purchases. Credit card companies allow you to dispute charges and provide flexibility to stop fraudulent charges to your account. When using a debit card, the money is withdrawn immediately from your account and does not offer the same ability to dispute debits.
- Review your statements and monitor your credit reports. It’s important to review every credit card statement and credit report for suspicious activity, especially when you are shopping for holidays. When you are making frequent charges, it’s easy to miss identity theft, so stay alert.
- Freeze your credit. Unless you plan on opening new accounts or making large purchases like a car during the holiday season, consider freezing your credit so you can remain protected from major fraud.