Fending Off Financial Fraud

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Santa and his elves aren't the only ones hard at work this holiday season.
Identity thieves are also keeping busy being more naughty than nice, by preying on unsuspecting holiday shoppers.

"A lot of time those who look to steal, look to steal during the holiday season, whether it be to steal for the own family or it be because of the proliferation of transactions that occurs throughout the holidays," said Bryan Police Detective, Chris Gonzales.

With the sheer volume of people shopping this time of year it makes it that much easier for identity thieves to capture and use your personal information.

But careless shoppers sometimes play right into their hands.

"A few common mistakes are not minding their surroundings," said Gonzales. "Sometimes a woman might leave her purse open while she bends down to tend to a child or while she bags some groceries, or while she does another task, and that purse open for one to two seconds is quick enough for a thief who is vigilant to see the opportunity and take it."

Some other prevention tips include:
- When at an ATM , avoid letting people crowd around you.
- Check bank statements as often as possible, if you notice any discrepancies report them.
- When using a debit card, process the transaction as a credit as to not let someone behind you see you enter a pin code.
- It is always a good idea to shred documents containing personal information.

If you feel you have had your identity stolen you need to report the theft immediately.

"Your bank can help guide you to someone to contact in regards to reporting to the credit bureau so that you can have the identity theft alert put on your credit statement," said Gonzales.

The holidays season means for many increased amounts of spending.
Shoppers need to make sure they keep a close watch as to where their money is going.