‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Shopping: How to Keep Your Info Safe Over the Holidays

‘Tis the season for meeting with friends, shopping, exchanging merry greetings, and…increased rates of identity theft? 43% of identity theft victims had their identity stolen during the holiday season. Through the careless handling and disposal of personal details, a thief’s ideal gift can quickly become a months-long headache for you.

However, this increased rate doesn’t mean that your celebrations must come to a screeching halt. With a little awareness, some extra protection, and a visit from a mobile document shredding truck, both you and your personal details can have a safe and happy holiday.

When Holiday Packages Are Left at Front Doors

It’s estimated that UPS alone will deliver over 30 million packages in the next few months, many of which will be left at front doors all over the nation. In a perfect world, we’d return home from work to simply collect our parcels and bring them inside. However, 18% of Americans report that they know someone who’s had a package stolen off their doorstep.

Aside from the frustration of having your gift (or someone else’s) stolen, these packages can also contain something that might be much more valuable than the physical trinket inside: personally identifiable information. Identity thieves only need a few pieces of information, such as an address, to successfully pretend to be someone they’re not, and receipts and packing slips typically include exactly these details.

When possible, try to have packages delivered to your local post office for in-person retrieval. If there’s no way to control where your package will be delivered, do your best to make sure it’s not left unattended for long.

When Shopping Malls Are Packed on All Floors

Despite the popularity of online shopping, which accounts for a staggering $126 billion in holiday sales, many people will still venture out to physical stores to find the perfect gift. Even with your wallet securely tucked away (and yes, it should always be somewhere hard to reach, like an inside pocket of your coat), there are still several opportunities for thieves to obtain your personal information.

One of the most common is the old over-the-shoulder PIN theft. When you enter in your PIN to a card system, protect your number throughout the process, and make it hard for someone behind you in line to see the digits you enter in. Always take your receipt when offered. Yes, it will temporarily clutter up your pocket, but it will also eliminate the chance of an ill-intentioned passerby plucking it out of the trash at the end of the sales day.

You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your smartphone, and, like your wallet, carry it in a place where pickpockets can’t easily get to it. Many of us bank, work, and socialize from our smart devices, making a lost phone a massive payday for a thief.

When Receipts and Greeting Cards on Your Table are Spreading

The dining room is a place to gather with friends and family during the holiday season, but just as often, it becomes a brief repository for holiday receipts, credit card invoices, and greeting card envelopes. These documents (even the envelopes) contain information that shouldn’t be disposed of through the public garbage system. Instead, they’ll need to be physically destroyed.

Rural folks may be able to obtain a burn permit for a controlled disposal (if you use this method, make sure that every piece of paper with any kind of printed information is thoroughly destroyed). For the rest of us, a mobile document shredding truck will be able to cross-shred your papers in a few short minutes, allowing holiday preparations to continue with no remaining worries. The particles will even be securely recycled after destruction.

Keep Your Holidays Merry with Mobile Document Shredding!

The holidays introduce enough chaos into daily routine; you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not your personal data will be compromised. A-1 Shredding guarantees professional, confidential, and effective document destruction for both businesses and residents across Arizona.

We’ll drive to you, so there’s no need to take any extra time out of your day. Our trained disposal specialists will make sure that your papers are protected at every stage of the process, from the minute they’re transferred into our care to the second they’re recycled.

To learn more about how our mobile document shredding service can quickly and easily help you reduce your chances of identity theft, give us a call at (602) 759-5103 or send our team an online message.