(UNDATED) – The biggest shopping season of the year is upon us and unfortunately, that also means its peak time for credit card theft. Thanks to new technology, thieves don’t even need to see your card to get your financial and personal identifying information. They can do it online or by even simply walking by.
Now, you may be asking yourself why a tax agency like the Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) cares about your credit cards?
Well, once someone’s credit card information is stolen, thieves can use it to gain access to or match up with other personal information and use it to commit tax fraud and other identity-related crimes.
And while DOR is a nationwide leader in preventing tax fraud and identity theft, they are always working to keep Hoosiers informed on how to keep your information safe.
Here are a few tips to help you shop safely whether at a retail store or online:
- Always keep your credit or debit card in sight when making a transaction at the register.
- When scanning your credit or debit card, make sure there are no attachments or appendages to the card reader. These “skimmers” can be used to read information stored in the magnetic stripe.
- Some credit cards have RFID chips that allow information to be transmitted wirelessly using radio frequencies. Thieves can sometimes access this information using scanners. Putting your RFID-enabled cards together in your wallet may confuse scanners. Keeping an RFID card in your front pocket may prevent someone with a reader from standing behind you without your knowledge. Just like when using the ATM, make sure nobody is standing within a few feet of use when using the card.
- Using a phone app such as ApplePay or Google Wallet? Turn off Wi-Fi and disable Bluetooth when shopping so your phone is inaccessible. Even better, wait until you are at home on a secured Wi-Fi or VPN to shop online.
For more information on identity protection, visit DOR’s Identity Protection FAQ webpage.