The holiday season is upon us, which usually means people increase the amount of money they spend. Unfortunately, credit card fraud also tends to increase during the holiday season. With about seven in 10 Americans having at least one credit card, it can be surprisingly easy for credit card information to be stolen.
So how can you protect yourself against credit card theft? Let’s explore a few important tips to keep in mind while shopping for holiday gifts.
1.First off, it’s important to have as few credit cards as possible. The fewer cards you have open, the smaller the chance you have of your accounts being compromised. Furthermore, having fewer cards makes it easier to keep track of your account activity and can limit the damage if you do become a victim of fraud. Additionally, even if you have several credit cards open, it’s important to only carry the cards you really need on your person. If you’re carrying several cards and are pickpocketed, the damage will be much worse than if you were only carrying one. So make sure to limit the number of cards you have in general and how many you carry on your person. If you can, you may want to consider carrying cash instead of cards. This way, you can know exactly how much you’re spending and can eliminate the risk of your card being stolen.
2. For all of the cards you do have, you should be adamant about keeping track of all receipts, both digital and paper. While it can be fairly easy to toss a paper receipt at the bottom of a bag or crumple it up in a purse, it’s important to keep all of your receipts in a safe place. After making several purchases, you should always check your card statements and make sure your receipts match up. If you do notice any odd charges, make sure to take action as soon as possible. It can be easy to miss fraudulent charges if they’re small amounts, which is why it’s crucial you keep your receipts. Another great option is to turn on activity alerts for your accounts. These alerts can be set to any amount you want and you’ll be notified if a charge on your card goes over that amount. There are plenty of services you can take advantage of to protect your accounts. Since the Secret Service was established in 1865 to go after money counterfeiters, security measures have greatly increased to help people protect their payments and money.
3. If you’re going to be online shopping, it’s crucial that you ensure you’re only shopping on legitimate sites. You should only shop on sites you’re familiar with and always be careful when opening promotional emails. If promotional links send you to an altered link, exit the page immediately. Don’t enter any personal information on websites you’re not familiar with, as this information could be stolen and used against you. Unfortunately, there are a lot of online and email scams that target specific demographics, like senior citizens. And with about 40% of assisted living residents needing assistance with at least three activities on a daily basis, they can easily fall for these scams. So people of all ages should be mindful when online shopping. Additionally, you should avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi whenever possible. Using an unsecured network could leave your information vulnerable to theft.
In today’s digital world, no one is truly safe when it comes to credit card theft or fraud. But taking these steps can help minimize the risk of your information being stolen this holiday season.