What’s in your wallet? Whatever it is, identity thieves still see it as the easiest way to get your information.
As concerned as we all are with an online or other technology-related data breach, the vast majority of identity theft happens from stolen or misplaced items such as wallets and pocketbooks. The second most common cause is a compromised license, Social Security card or other form of personal I.D. Burglaries rate third.
These top three causes accounted for 73 percent of cases involving identity theft, according to a study of 2011 claims data by Travelers Insurance. The thieves often acquired the personal information through less obvious means, from sorting through trash for bank statements to stealing pre-approved credit card applications in the mail. Only 10 percent of those surveyed could identify the perpetrator of the identify fraud made against them.
My work and personal email inboxes are chock full of online ads, promoting next week’s so-called “Black Friday” retail doorbusters to kick off the holiday shopping season.
Seems as if retailers in the Greater Boston area need to do a little more homework, though, if they want to capture this market. According to the results of the survey that I posted last week, more than 70 percent of Boston.com readers plan to wait to do most of their holiday shopping until early December, when there aren’t many crowds in the stores. I have to agree with my readers. Who wants to deal with Black Friday when you can wait a few days and have some time to think and space to breathe in the stores?
Several companies that have contacted me, claiming to have done “studies” that forecast an increase in holiday shopping spending, also don’t seem to have a good pulse on what Boston-area residents plan to do. Sixty-four percent of readers who answered my survey said their budgets are going to stay the same this year. Another 25 percent said they’re reducing it. Only 11 percent will increase their budget.
Excel spreadsheets are once again becoming my best friend.
As I begin preparing my annual Christmas shopping list, instead of my usual paper system tacked onto my bulletin board or stuffed in my wallet, I have decided to lay out my list of people, and purchases, in a few simple columns so that I can easily find and track all of the information.
At the end of last year’s holiday season, I realized that my budget should not only include those items I buy for gifts, but all the other items I end up purchasing because it’s the one time of the year that I actually take time out to shop. It’s the extra things that end up blowing my budget and bloating my credit-card bill come January.
It also helps me reinforce the fairness factor among my kids. We always try to make sure that we split our immediate family budget pretty evenly among them, but having a formula that automatically tallies up the amounts for me as I input each one makes it a lot easier to make sure that I am keeping my word.
Easthampton Savings Bank is one of 88 banks nationwide that is participating in this year’s “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest for teens that’s organized by the Education Foundation of the American Bankers Association.
The contest asks teens ages 13-18 years old to create a video that educates themselves, and their peers, about the value of saving and using money wisely. The videos can’t be longer than 90 seconds and must be an original work by the student (including all music and images).