Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Unfortunately, as you start planning gifts and parties, identity thieves are also scheming new ways to steal your personal information. You’ll need to use caution to help better protect your identity and keep the season merry and bright.
Here are some reminders to keep on your shopping list this year when it comes to identity theft.
Only shop on trusted websites. The Identity Theft Resource Center recommends doing business only with companies you know and trust, and only shopping on encrypted websites. Encryption means any private information you enter into a website is encoded so only authorized parties can read the information. Icons such as padlocks or unbroken keys usually are found at the top or bottom of the browser window when a website is encrypted. When shopping, also create new, different and complex passwords for each website so if one is stolen, an identity thief can’t automatically break into your other online shopping accounts.
If the holiday deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The holiday season is full of great online deals and in-store coupons, but not every deal is real. Some are scams set up to trick holiday shoppers into giving up personal identification information. According to the Better Business Bureau, fraudsters may send fake emails or advertise for “amazing deals” on popular products to entice shoppers to enter credit card and address information. Pay particular attention to the website address to be certain it’s a secure address linked to a real business, and check out BBB’s Business Directory before buying from any business you don’t recognize.
Be careful with digital greeting cards. These greeting cards may not be as harmless as they seem. Some come loaded with malware designed to steal personal information from your computer. Even if the card appears to come from someone you know, don’t click links in the body of an email, and don’t open attachments. According to the Greeting Card Association, legitimate e-card notifications always come with the full name or personal email address of the sender, and all legitimate e-card publishers will allow you to collect your e-card directly from a website instead of through a link. You should manually type the website URL into your browser window and enter the retrieval code information from the notification email into that site to retrieve your e-card.
Verify charities before giving. While this scam can happen any time of the year, fake charities set up to steal your information and your money are particularly prevalent during the holidays. Legitimate charities rely on year-end giving to make ends meet, hoping that people will feel more philanthropic during the holiday season and take advantage of the last chance to make tax-deductible donations. Fake charities rely on the same thing. Before giving, USA.gov recommends verifying the charity’s complete name and address with the attorney general or BBB. Also, consider donating funds with a credit card for extra protection against fraudulent charges.
Keep checking your accounts for fraudulent activity. It’s a busy time, but throughout the merry mayhem of the season, be sure to keep up with charges on your credit and debit accounts to ensure they’re all purchases you’ve made. If anything looks suspicious, immediately contact your financial institution to alert them to the activity.
Megan Craig is a Chicago-based journalist and communications professional who writes mostly about personal finance and consumer issues. She is a former reporter and editor for the Chicago Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @megcraig1.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.