Among the hustle and bustle leading up to the holidays, it’s easy to get caught up in the shopping frenzy. The feeling is all too familiar—where the main concerns become making it to the right shops in time, getting our hands on the right gifts, and making it out before we’ve spent too much money. As you hop from store to store, you’re probably watching your accounts to make sure your purchases are still within budget. But there’s more to keep an eye on … like protecting your personal & business identity.
Many experts suggest that there is a rise in identity theft around the holidays because there are more opportunities for thefts to occur unnoticed. Pickpockets and other identity criminals are out in full force during the holidays and they are everywhere. While staying a few steps ahead of them is critical, having the right plan of attack is equally important in the event something slips through the cracks.
Chances are, you’ve probably been advised to destroy old paper documents that contain sensitive information, and to do so in a secure environment. The truth is, we live in a digital age, and by shredding documents containing personal information, you’re really just scratching the surface.
Make your holiday season safe and enjoyable by following these helpful tips wherever you are:
Out in public
Crowded malls and sidewalks provide ample opportunities for thieves to nab your wallet and bank cards, not to mention other personal information. While you’re out and about, remember:
- Carry a wallet equipped with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) blocking capability. RFID technology allows credit cards to be read without having to swipe them through a machine. Having an RFID blocking wallet will help prevent thieves from picking up your credit card info through your jacket or purse.
- Protect your belongings. With all of the distractions in a busy store, it’s easy to forget to secure your wallet. Pickpockets thrive in a crowd, so limit the amount of personal data you carry with you. This includes not carrying around your Social Security number and checkbook.
- When in doubt, make purchases via credit rather than debit. The bottom line is, if a fraudulent charge is made, getting your money back is a less arduous process with credit than with debit.
- Avoid non-bank-affiliated ATMs. You never know who’s really handling your moneyor your bank information when you use an ATM, unless it operates under a legitimate bank. Always look for familiar banking institution emblems.
- Keep an eye on those around you, especially at places like the ATM machine and checkout line. You never know who could be standing behind you in line watching you key in your PIN number.
- Make sure you get all your cards back after making a purchase and watch that your credit card is swiped only once. Don’t forget to keep all of your receipts in a safe place.
Cell Phone Security
When you want to compare prices or check your bank accounts on the go, it’s nice to know that because of today’s smartphones, you have the world at your fingertips. Remember, just because you’re the only one that uses your smartphone, doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to prying eyes. Sticking to a few rules of thumb will help keep your personal information personal:
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections. Hackers can use public networks to get full access to unsecured devices on the same network, like your smartphone. Not only that, they use an unsecured network to distribute malware.
- Close phone apps after you’re done using them. Even though you don’t see them up on your screen, doesn’t mean they’re not still running—and if they’re still running, hackers still have access to data stored within them. Another option is to just remove sensitive apps like those you use for banking altogether during the holiday season.
- Delete your browsing and cookie history to avoid password or PIN capture. The last thing you want is for a crook to have the keys to your castles.
Shopping online from the comfort of home or from a cozy coffee shop has become a favorite way to shop. And why not, when you can avoid the long lines and traffic altogether? Shopping this way can be extremely convenient, but you should remain cautious. The internet can be an open range for savvy identity thieves to prey on vulnerable customers, especially when credit information and other sensitive data are constantly being sent electronically. Here are some tips to keep in mind before browsing the web for holiday deals:
- Shop only from companies you know and trust. Period.
- Ensure the websites you are on are secure and legitimate. Phishing scams are one way identity thieves can try to steal your personal information online. Making sure that a website is encrypted over a secure connection is easy. When its URL begins with https (as opposed to just http), your network is secure. Also, look for a “Lock” icon displayed in the address bar before or after the URL. You can see more detailed info by clicking it.
- Update all your anti-virus and anti-spyware programs and, again, avoid doing your online shopping at wireless hotspots where your network might not be secure.
You can be susceptible to identity theft even in the privacy of your home. An identity crook needs little more than your Social Security number, bank information, or a pre-approved credit application to steal your identity. Here are a few ways to safeguard your personal information while at home:
Mail—Your inbound and outbound mail has more personal information than you may realize. To protect yourself, always be sure to:
- Remove your mail from your mailbox daily. If you are going to be away for a period of time, have the post office hold your mail or have a trusted friend or neighbor pick it up. If possible, you should also consider having a lock on your mailbox.
- Shred all unwanted documents. Bank statements, credit card bills, and insurance policy renewal notices can get lost between all of the other mail you get during the holidays. Dumpster diving is a common way identity thieves can get access to these documents, so simply throwing them in the trash is not enough. If it identifies you and you don’t need it—shred it.
- Take all checks and mail with account information directly to the post office, or a secure mailbox to prevent a thief from taking it from your mailbox.
Phone calls—The holidays are a common time for charities to ask for donations over the phone. But not all calls are from legitimate sources. An identity thief could pretend to be soliciting a donation for a charity, or act as a representative from your credit card company. Never give out your financial information over the phone when someone calls you. If you’d like to make a donation, contact the organization yourself to ensure your gift is getting to those it was intended for.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
The power of giving anyway you can.
There are many ways one can give; money is one way but there are many other ways to give and help others. Below is one of those ways; Enjoy!
XANGO Goodness Foundation
Uploaded on Nov 5, 2009
Giving is a core element of XANGO’s mission, and the company has supported worthy causes that benefit children and families worldwide since its inception. As XANGO grows, so does its ability to affect more lives, While the XANGO Goodness movement has benefited many thousands worldwide as a branded charitable initiative for XANGO, the time has come to extend XANGO’s reach. XANGO has now registered the XanGo Goodness Foundation, a public 501 (c)(3) charity. The Foundation is part of XANGO, LLC’s ongoing commitment to mobilize its global resources to better the lives of others through philanthropic action.
This move strengthens XANGO’s fundraising abilities and commitment to transparency, and expands XANGO’s ability to help even more people in need.
XANGO Meal Pack
Uploaded on May 8, 2009
XANGO Goodness gives back.
More on XANGO and XANGO Meal Pack at http://wanda500k.iamxango.com/xango-goodness-foundation
Published on Oct 24, 2012
A look inside XANGO Goodness, accompanied by our very own Chairman & CEO, Aaron Garrity, singing “You Are Beautiful” (the Linda Perry classic made famous by Christina Aguilera).
XANGO started giving back before we even opened our doors. Focusing on children in need, we now lead the industry in social responsibility, setting a new standard for corporate caring. It’s built right into our company’s DNA—our Distributors give generously to organizations like Operation Smile, Americares and Best Buddies just by building a business (and often choose to give much more). We’re proud of what we’ve done together, and we hope you enjoy these smiles as much as we do.
XANGO Meal Pack story to share
Giving is a core element of XANGO’s mission. It’s an essential part of how we do business, something we’ve embraced from our very earliest days. The XANGO Goodness Foundation supports charitable missions, humanitarian relief and feeding programs around the globe.
XANGO’s involvement—with support from the company, distributors and employees—creates positive change in the lives of children worldwide, and it increases opportunities for better health, education and social acceptance.
Wanda K Robinson, Wanda Robinson
(a.k.a – wandalkr, wanda500k, mkwandarobinson)
Live Your Life, Live Your Dream, Live Your Way
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DON’T LOOK BELOW FOR THE ANSWERS UNTIL YOU HAVE TRIED TO FIGURE IT OUT.
1. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, “Who was that masked man?” Invariably, someone would answer, I don’t know, but he left this behind. What did he leave behind? ________________.
2. When the Beatles first came to the U.S. In early 1964, we all watched them on The ____ ___________ Show.
3. ‘Get your kicks, __ _________ _______.’
4. The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed to _____ _ _____.’
5. ‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ____ ____ ____ ____.’
6. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we ‘danced’ under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the ‘_____.’
7. Nestlé’s makes the very best…. _________.’
8. Satchmo was America ‘s ‘Ambassador of Goodwill.’ Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was ______ ___________.
9. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______.
10. Red Skeleton’s hobo character was named ______ ___ ________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, ‘Good Night, and ‘________ ________’
11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their ______ _______.
12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ___ & _______.
13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, ‘the day the music died.’ This was a tribute to _______ ____________.
14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called __________.
15. One of the big fads of the late 50’s and 60’s was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the ______ _____.
16. Remember LS/MFT _____ _____/_____ _____ _____?
17. Hey Kids! What time is it? It’s _____ ______ _____!
18. Who knows what secrets lie in the hearts of men? Only The _____ Knows!
19. There was a song that came out in the 60’s that was “a grave yard smash”. Its name was the ______ ______!
20. Alka Seltzer used a “boy with a tablet on his head” as its Logo/Representative. What was the boy’s name? ________
ANSWERS: 1.The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet. 2. The Ed Sullivan Show 3. On Route 66 4.To protect the innocent. 5.The Lion Sleeps Tonight 6. The limbo 7. Chocolate 8. Louis Armstrong 9. The Timex watch 10. Freddy, The Freeloader and ‘Good Night and God Bless.’ 11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned. Not flags, as some have guessed) 12. Beetle or Bug 13. Buddy Holly 14. Sputnik 15. Hoola-hoop 16. Lucky Strike/Means Fine Tobacco 17. Howdy Doody Time 18. Shadow 19. Monster Mash 20. Speedy
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