How to protect yourself from identity theft this holiday season, local expert weighs in

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While many continue shopping for gifts this holiday season, thieves are out looking for information to steal.

It’s not just online shopping that shoppers have to be careful about, experts also say crooks are looking to steal your information through a number of different avenues.

With the holiday season in full swing, experts say it’s more important than ever to protect your identity.

Thieves are not only prowling for your credit card numbers online, they’re also targeting you at stores by using skimmers to steal your credit card information.

It’s not just credit cards that people have to protect, crooks are also looking to steal information left inside cars.

“Often times, the thief will break into the car and look for information in the glove box, such as your car registration. One of the things you would want to do is take your registration and lock it in your trunk or carry it with you so they won’t gain access to that information,” said Mark Medley, President of ID Theft Resolutions.

To protect gifts you’re sending through the mail, experts suggest dropping them off inside the post office instead of the outside mailbox.

What do you do if your identity has been stolen? Medley says the first step is filing a police report, then contact your bank.

“Close any accounts that are affected by the identity theft. Put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit report. Also, try to pull a credit report. If you go to www.annualcreditreport.com, everybody can get at least one credit report per year. What they recommend you do is pull one credit report, wait three or four months, then pull another. Spread them out during the year so you can keep track of what is going on,” said Medley.

It’s also important to note, if your identity is stolen you should contact all three credit bureaus.

Medley also says there is the ID Theft Passport Program that allows people to register with the MVD as a victim of ID theft.

They will then get a free driver’s license with a V endorsement on the back. Medley says this could prevent you from being thrown into jail for something you didn’t do.

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