EDISON - With Christmas only days away, the Department of Homeland Security wants consumers to protect themselves from fraud while doing last-minute shopping.
Sophia Ciaccio, with the DHS, says that there are steps to protect oneself from identification theft.
"When you're putting your [PIN] in, cover it up with one hand, use the other hand to put the code in,” says Ciaccio. “Also, you can test the slot where you are putting your ATM card into. If it gets wiggly, if it moves, it shouldn't move."
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A loose slot could mean the ATM was tampered with and an information skimmer was installed.
According to the Justice Department, 18 million Americans were the victims of ID theft last year. Most of these thefts involved credit cards and bank accounts.
“If you're going to some of those stores where the merchandise looks counterfeit, where the deal is better than it should be, I wouldn't give them my credit card information,” says Ciaccio.
Security experts also say consumers should use caution when using a website that reroutes users to another site for purchase. If anything seems suspicious, consumers should not input their information.