The holidays can be a financially tight time of the year. Between additional expenses for gifts, meals, and holiday travel, many consumers are feeling the pinch. It can be tempting to use a credit card for these expenses, either to pay off later or to reap points and other rewards. However, scammers are aware of this increased activity and are very active during the holiday season. Here are some tips to avoid holiday credit card fraud and scams:
1. Shop Smart
If you are making online holiday purchases, make sure they are from a reputable online source. Often scam websites will advertise too-good-to-be-true deals on high-value items like game consoles. After taking your payment, they disappear, with no product in sight. Avoid shopping for big-ticket items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc. If you are buying an item directly from another person and they want payment in gift cards, cryptocurrency, or wire transfer, it’s likely a scam.
2. Check Your Statements
It’s very important to reconcile your credit card statements each month. Enroll in paperless billing so you can check your account more frequently. If a fraudulent charge on a credit card is reported within 30 days, you may have zero liability for that charge. An added benefit of reviewing your statements regularly is that you will have a better idea of what you’re spending.
3. Keep an Eye Out
Criminals and scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal information. This could include credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and/or date of birth. Sometimes scammers will use a device called a skimmer. This device attaches to point of sale consoles at stores, gas stations, and ATMs and copies your card’s information when you use it. Thieves can then use the copied information to make fraudulent purchases. To avoid this, always check a machine for anything suspicious before you insert your card. Make sure to also cover your hand when you enter your PIN at an ATM.
4. Keep Your Passwords Updated
It’s very important to keep all passwords for your accounts updated and secure. Use a password with numbers, letters, and special characters. Don’t use easily obtained information like the names of your children, pets, or dates of birth. Try to have different passwords for each account, using a password manager if necessary. If you need to write down passwords, make sure to keep them in a secure location like a safe or firebox.
Using these tips, you can stay safe this holiday season and avoid any unexpected charges. Apprisen wishes you happy holidays and a safe and prosperous new year!
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