ROCKFORD (WIFR) – This time of year, a lot of us go online to get our holiday shopping done, but logging onto the web could cost us even more than just the gifts we’re buying.
1 in 14 Americans fell prey to identity theft last year. Those are the latest numbers from a government study. Right here in Winnebago County, those numbers are adding up to hundreds of victims every year.
“It’s on a daily basis that reports come to us that someones identity has been compromised and that happens in various ways, as simple as a credit card number being utilized by an unknown person in a different city,” said Winnebago County Chief Deputy Dominic Iasparro.
This is causing more than just headaches for us. A national household survey of 70,000 people found ID theft resulted in nearly $25 billion in losses last year.
So how do we stay safe? IT expert PJ Way says the most important thing is to make sure the websites we’re buying fro are secure.
“If you’re unsure whether you’re on a legitimate site, make sure you’re on a secured site. You’ll see “https” which means it’s a secured site requiring a username and password,” said Way.
Many of us now use our smart phones just as much, if not more to do our online shopping. Way says smartphones are just as secure as buying things online with our computers.
Luckily, credit card companies and banks are getting better about catching theft almost immediately. Most of the time they will cover the costs, instead of making us foot the bill.