December 9, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 15 ������������������ Keep your holiday safe with ID theft prevention tips (ARA) Not everyone will be thinking of gift shopping, decorating, and spreading good cheer this holiday season. Identity thieves will spend their time concocting new ways to steal and use your personal information. More people report lost and stolen wallets to the Identity Theft Resource Center between November and January than at any other time of year, according to the center’s website. Nearly 10 million Americans were affected by identity theft in 2008, according to the Javelin Strategy and Research Center. “The downturn in the economy and resultant tightening of credit may or may not be the reason, but unfortunately we have seen the number of identity theft cases rise,” reported Jay Foley, executive director of the nonprofit ITRC. Good old-fashioned vigilance remains the best way to protect your identity. This holiday season, you will need to be as creative as the ID thieves in order to avoid identity theft. Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to identity theft while you conduct your holiday business: Be aware of your surroundings when you use your cell phone in a public place, whether you are at work, using public transportation, or strolling outdoors. If you make a purchase over the phone and give your credit card number and billing information aloud in a public place, you could be giving identity thieves everything they need to steal your identity. Keep your wallet lean when holiday shopping. Carry only the credit cards and ID you need. Never carry your Social Security card or your checkbook; checks are for card out of your sight. Do not walk away while the cashier runs your charge. Thieves now have scanning devices that allow them to scan your card in seconds. Make sure your identity theft protection product comes from a reliable, reputable company. For example, ProtectMyID is a part of Experian, the credit bureau with more than 13 years of experience in identity protection, and helps its members defend themselves against the financial losses caused by identity theft. Turn down those credit cards the clerk offers in the store, even if it comes with a big discount for the day. ID thieves look for people completing credit applications on the fly and take the opportunity to steal identifying information. paying bills at home. Shopping after work? Put your laptop, purse, or brief case in the trunk of your car before you reach your destination. Don’t wait until you get to the store; thieves are watching parking lots to see who puts something in the trunk before leaving the car. When paying for purchases, never allow your credit Happy Holidays ����� ����������� Gingerbread Consignment Shop �������������������������� �������������������� �������������� ������������������������������������������ ������������ ������������������������������������������������������������ 8-12-09 ester/janine ��������������������������������� Gingerbread3x2(12-2-09) �������������������������������������������� 3 col. x 2” rev1 ����������������������������������������� ��������������� ���������������� ������ ������� BROWNSTONE MILL SPECIALTY SHOPS Wednesday - Saturday 10:30am - 5:00pm 11 Paterson Ave, Midland Park, just off Goffle Road 201-445-3074 • 201-652-5585 ANTIQUES ESTATE FURNITURE COLLECTIBLES VINTAGE JEWELRY HAIR STUDIO CRYSTAL, SILVER CHANDELIERS DOLL HOUSES REIKI CANDLES, BASKETS HOME DECOR ITEMS POSTCARDS UPHOLSTERY TRUNKS GARDEN CENTER VINTAGE CHINA CUSTOM PAINTED FURNITURE WINDOW TREATMENTS ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ���������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������� ������� �������������������� Join us for Holiday Shopping ����������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ������������������������������������� � ��������������������������������������������������� �������������������������