(WKBN) – With the rise in online activity this season, identity thieves have increased opportunities to steal your personal data. AAA East Central is offering steps to take to protect yourself this season.

Dan Flynn, managing director of branch operations at AAA East Central, said identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes.

“Shopping online can increase your chances of having your information stolen. Shoppers should monitor their credit reports and sign up for credit monitoring services, like the ProtectMyID® program offered to AAA members,” Flynn said.

To prevent theft of your credit card or other personal information over the holiday, AAA East Central also recommends:

  • Don’t shop online on an unsecured wi-fi connection. Hackers may be able to steal that information, especially on public computers or on public Wi-Fi. Consider getting a personal hotspot if you use your phone frequently in public for financial transactions.
  • Stick to familiar websites. Don’t use a new website to buy something before checking consumer reviews, and make sure it offers a secure web page for credit card transactions.
  • When shopping at retail locations, don’t let your credit card out of sight. Make sure your purse or wallet is secure at all times. If using a debit card, protect your pin number from sight and consider purchasing an RFID blocking product.
  • Keep your smartphone in a secure place at all times and use a passcode lock feature if it has one. Thieves can access a trove of personal data by stealing an unsecured cell phone.