With the holiday shopping season heading into its final frenzied stretch, scammers are in full force, taking advantage of busy shoppers. Protect yourself, and your cards, from fraud with these safety measures and preventative tips:
Monitor your credit
Stay alert and identify the first signs of fraud to your credit accounts by reviewing your credit card statements well. It’s also a good idea to sign up for alerts to be notified of unusual or large purchases made on your card.
Strengthen your passwords
Do each of your accounts have their own unique password? Are passwords strong, using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols as well as varied capitalization use? If any of your passwords use your personal information, like birth dates or street names, change them. They are easily guessed and then can be used to hack into multiple accounts and/or lead to identity theft. Strengthen any weak passwords now to prevent fraud.
Shop with caution
Only shop reputable sites and avoid clicking on pop-up ads or links in emails from unverified senders. To confirm a site’s security, look for the lock icon before the URL and the “s” after the “http.” Finally, make sure the security settings on your devices are updated and choose a VPN (virtual private network) when using public Wi-Fi.
Keep your cards close
Don’t forget to take basic precautions with your credit cards, especially if you’ll be hitting a lot of shops before the holidays. Keep your card tucked into your wallet or purse. If you use a cardholder on your phone case, keep your phone in a safe place and make sure the card numbers are not easily visible. Finally, put your card away right after completing a purchase.
Take immediate action if there are signs of fraud
If you suspect your credit card has been used fraudulently, alert your issuer and financial institution immediately. Your old card will be canceled to prevent additional bogus charges and you’ll be issued a new one so you can complete your shopping. Consider placing a credit freeze on your accounts as well.