Black Friday is one of the most lucrative shopping days of the year for retailers in brick-and-mortar shops and online, but shoppers aren't the only ones looking for deals. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it. If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages holiday shoppers to take the following identity theft precautions:
- Take advantage of security features. Passwords and other security features add layers of protection if used appropriately. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords.)
- Check privacy policies. Take precautions when providing information, and make sure to check published privacy policies to see how a company will use or distribute your information. (See Protecting Your Privacy.)
- Check your statements. Keep a record of your purchases and copies of confirmation pages, and compare them to your bank statements. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.
- Be careful what information you publicize. Attackers may be able to piece together information from a variety of sources. Avoid posting personal data in public forums. (See Staying Safe on Social Networking Sites.)