How to protect yourself from ID theft during this holiday season

Before you thaw your Thanksgiving turkey, cybersecurity experts recommend changing your online passwords.

“This is prime time if you’re an identity criminal,” explained James Lee, the chief operating officer for the national nonprofit the Identity Theft Resource Center.

Your social security number also doesn’t hold the value it once did.

“It has no intrinsic value because most adults in the United States - their social security number is already out there,” Lee said.

Lee told FOX13 that on the black market, your Gmail account login can retail for up to $100 and your driver’s license number could be valued at $150.

“The bad guys know that chances are, we’re going to use that same login and password on every account we have,” Lee said. “So if they just get it once, they can access all manner of accounts.”

Several Memphis residents on Tuesday said that they can’t remember the last time they had changed their passwords.

“It’s been a while,” said Vicki Knych. “I probably should do that.”

“It’s been a minute,” said Carlos Hurst.

Here are tips from the Identity Theft Resource Center for protecting your data this holiday season:

  • Change your password to a long phrase that is unique to each account

  • Password managers inside browsers (like Chrome and Edge) are a secure way to store them

  • Freeze your family’s credit so a hacker can’t open a new account

  • Here are instructions on how to do so

  • Don’t click on links that come through texts and emails

“This is one of those things you can count on like clockwork,” Lee explained. “When we get to the holiday season, you’re going to have more scams. You’re going to have more identity criminals trying to separate you from your information.”

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