‘Tis the Season to Fight Fraud

According to Statista, online holiday shopping is projected to increase 15.3% in 2018. In 2017, American shoppers spent over $5 billion shopping on Cyber Monday alone. Each holiday season, Americans pull out their cards and shop online to a total of hundreds of billions of dollars in the last two months of the year. These online transactions could put you at risk for fraud. We’ve come up with a few suggestions to help give you peace of mind while shopping.

Use a small number of cards. Make your purchases on one or two cards instead of spreading them out over many. This will not only help you keep track of your purchases, but if anything does get compromised, the impact will be limited to only those cards you used.

Check your statements and keep your receipts. Compare your receipts with your statements once they are available. Fraudulent charges don’t usually show up as large purchases. If you aren’t actively keeping track and you see a small charge on your card that you don’t immediately recognize you may be more willing to think that you simply missed something you bought. Contest any charges that seem suspicious as soon as possible.

Turn on account activity alerts. Most major card issuers are now offering account alerts for their cardholders. Consumers can sign up and choose the notifications they wish to receive. The notifications can be sent for certain dollar amounts or each time a purchase is made without the card being present. During the holidays, when the number of purchases is increasing, these notifications can help you stay on top of any fraudulent transactions.

Watch the URL. Pay attention to the websites you are visiting. There are scams that use fictitious URLs that look like major retailers to gain access to your information. Verify that “https” appears in the URL. These sites offer secure, encrypted transactions. Don’t disclose your credit card information over the phone or online unless you can verify it is legitimate.

Protect your phone. Many Americans use their phones to shop or do other financial business. Password or fingerprint protect your phone and don’t allow your phone to store credit card information. Doing so will reduce the risk of losing confidential information should your phone fall into the wrong hands. You can even equip your phone with security software, similar to that on a computer.

Try mobile wallets. Make purchases using mobile wallet apps (ApplePay, SamsungPay, Google Wallet, etc) is not only convenient, but offers additional layers of security. There are added protections in place like biometrics and tokenization.

Check your credit report. Regular credit report monitoring is important all year long. Check for unauthorized credit inquiries that could signal fraud. This level of vigilance is important in protecting yourself from fraud.

Make sure to follow this tips this holiday season to avoid having credit or debit card fraud ruin your holidays.

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