As holiday spending comes to an end, many consumers will begin paying off the balances they acquired during the holiday shopping season. In fact, according to Discover Financial Services, Americans favor credit cards as their primary payment method for gift purchases.
However, as more purchases are made with credit cards, scammers are perfecting their technique on how to take advantage of vulnerable shoppers. As a consumer’s account balances begin to ebb and flow, scammers hope nobody will notice suspicious activity.
Protect yourself and your wallet from credit card fraud with these safety measures and preventative tips that will help you stay safe in the new year.
Choose Zero Liability
If you can, choose a credit card with zero liability protection. This way, you won’t be responsible for any unauthorized charges made on your card.
Some companies may charge a portion of the fraudulent purchase if you’re not completely covered or have an additional fee to avoid paying the total amount.
Monitor Your Credit
Some alerts for transactions made in remote or obscure places may also be available. Many credit card issuers offer an instant text or email alerts, which can help cardholders be alerted to fraudulent activity so they can take action before it happens again.
Stay alert and carefully review your credit card statements. It’s also a good idea to enroll in available alerts to be notified of unusual or large purchases made on your card.
Strengthen Your Passwords
The new year is a perfect time to review the passwords on your accounts and make necessary changes. Does each account have a unique password? Are your passwords strong, using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols as well as varied capitalization use?
If any passwords use your personal information, such as your date of birth, your hometown, or your mother’s maiden name, change them. Hackers can use easily cracked passwords like these to hack into multiple accounts and even lead to identity theft. Keep your passwords strong, and change them from time to time to prevent fraud.
Shop With Caution
Be an alert shopper and do your research before you act. Only shop reputable sites and avoid clicking on pop-up ads or email links 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 you use a device using updated security settings and choose a VPN (a virtual private network) if you must use public Wi-Fi.
Be Wary of Calls or Texts From Your Credit Card Issuer
Some scammers use phishing scams to pull off credit card fraud. In these scams, a target will receive a phone call or a text message from someone who allegedly represents their credit card company or financial institution.
The scammer may ask the cardholder to share sensitive information, such as their card numbers, account details, passwords, and more. Unfortunately, if the cardholder complies, they will be playing directly into the hands of a scammer.
If you receive one of these phone calls, hang up and block the number. You can reach out to your card issuer on your own to check if there is a problem with your account. But chances are, everything will be in order.
Take Immediate Action If There Are Signs of Fraud
If you suspect your credit card has been stolen or hacked, alert your credit card issuer and financial institution immediately. The company will cancel your old card to prevent the scammer from making additional charges. You’ll be issued a new one so you can complete your shopping.
Consider placing a credit freeze on your accounts as well, which will make it nearly impossible for the fraudster to open new accounts or take out loans in your name.
This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.