Protecting Yourself Against Identity Theft

Consumer Alert
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Holiday shopping at the mall...

A breeding ground for heavy traffic, the sales that come with it, and unfortunately, the identity theft that comes with it as well.

"There's more people there, it may be easier to steal somebody's wallet," said Consumer Specialist Cindy White.

That may seem like a stretch in a city like Eau Claire, but the concept certainly isn't.

"I think identity theft is the number one growing crimes since I've been here."

Mainly because of the people who have let their guard down on a good-looking offer that turns out to be a scam.

"They've received an email or phone call or something through the mail and they give out their personal information."

Experts say that's a no-no, as well as keeping a checkbook unattended or even keeping your pin number anywhere near a debit card.

Some things you can do...

"Check your credit reports at least once a year."

Keep track of your financial documents.

If you're shopping online, use secure sites from a familiar seller.

"By using your credit card, it gives you an advantage because you can dispute the charges with your credit card company."

So the face in the crowd that isn't yours, yet somehow, has your name, won't get away with holiday cheer at your expense.