4. Keep money and credit cards in a safe place
Beware of pickpockets, especially in crowded malls and when
you face major distractions, such as when your children are being
photographed with Santa.
5. Don't leave your ID in your car when shopping
Parking lots are popular spots for identity thieves looking for
personal information. Thieves will keep an eye out for exactly when
you arrive and strike early, knowing that you are unlikely to return
to your car anytime soon.
6. Be wary of people looking over your shoulder
Identity thieves have been known to snap photos, usually using their
smartphones, of shoppers' credit cards. That person waiting behind
you in line may look like he or she is texting, but without realizing
it, you might be offering him or her a glimpse of your credit card
information — and the thief is making a photo record.
7. Be sure your charitable donations go to
Be careful of phishing scams and unofficial websites when making
charitable donations this holiday season. When in doubt, look up
the organization through the Better Business Bureau or through
a respected list of nonprofits before contributing.
8. Never shop
E-mail is an easy way for
hackers to intercept your
Often, e-mails targeting
shoppers are not legitimate.
9. Check your statements twice
Especially during the holiday season, check your credit card
statements to be sure all of your purchases are accurately recorded.
Anything that looks suspicious could be a red flag indicating that
your personal data has been compromised.
10. Write “Check Photo ID” on the back of your
This is just another measure to ensure that no one will use your
credit card in a store. Asking the cashier to check the card against
your photo ID adds another layer of protection.
Members receive a 10 percent discount and 30 days of free
membership when they purchase LifeLock. For more information,
click “Benefits” and look for Identity Theft Protection under the
Financial category on the mtabenefits.com website.
All program and pricing information was current at the time of publication (November 2015) and is subject to change without notice.
The past two winters have been the coldest in 20
years. That means you’ve been spending more to
heat your home. While it’s hard to predict what
the approaching winter will bring, Heat USA has
some tips on ways to save you money.
First, lower your thermostat 10 degrees at night.
Lowering the temperature 10 degrees for eight
hours can save you 10 percent to 15 percent on
Second, make strategic use of your ceiling fans.
You can achieve better air flow throughout your
house and use less heat. Turning on the fan
clockwise at a low setting will gently push the
hot air down, keeping your rooms warmer during
Third, inspect your windows and doors. This is
where the majority of heat loss occurs. Check
around the edges of both windows and doors —
even if they are new — for gaps and holes that
could cause drafts. Replace worn weatherstripping
on doors, and caulk windows to ensure a good
seal. These are inexpensive fixes that can save you
hundreds of dollars. And don’t overlook electrical
outlets. Insulation is not usually placed around
them, so you can purchase foam gaskets to put
behind wall plates for added warmth.
Last but not least, make sure your heating system
has had its annual cleaning and tune-up to be
certain it’s running efficiently.
Heat USA, MTA’s heating oil program partner,
is the largest heating oil purchasing program
in the United States. It serves more than 80,000
members in 12 states and has more than
For 30 years, Heat USA has used the buying power
of its membership to negotiate superior terms and
conditions from local oil suppliers. By offering to
bring significant new business to a supplier, Heat
USA is able to secure benefits for its members that
they wouldn't be able to negotiate on their own.
The average annual savings for an MTA member
is $300 to $500. This includes the benefit of a
free full-service contract offered by most of
the suppliers in the Heat USA network.
To view a map of the areas covered by suppliers
— and for more details on the special
benefits offered to MTA members — visit
www.heatusa.com/mta or call 888.432.8872.
Protect your identity this holiday shopping season
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