‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping and ice skating, but December is also a big month for credit card scammers to work overtime. With many people making large charges for Christmas presents, it’s a good time for criminals with stolen credit card numbers to sneak in under the radar. In this blog we are going to talk a little about how to prevent credit card fraud during the holidays (or any time) and what to do if you become a victim of this sort of attack.
There are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself against credit card fraud and minimized the damage to your credit score if a thief goes Christmas shopping with your card.
- Keep track of your card – It only takes a few seconds for a thief to take a photo of your credit card number. Make sure you keep an eye on your card when paying in a store, and that you don’t leave it behind somewhere
- Avoid scanners – There are scanners that can steal your credit card information when you swipe your card. If it seems like there is anything strange about a swiper when you are getting groceries or gas, don’t use it.
- Set Up Alerts – Many times, thieves may get your credit card number but not the security code or your address. Setting up alerts with your financial institute may help you catch credit card fraud right away
- Check Your Balance – If you have online banking, check your card statements regularly to get ahead of any purchases. If you don’t have online banking, be sure to check your statement balance carefully when it arrives.
What should you do if you are a victim of credit card fraud?
If you have had your credit card information stolen (either the physical card, or just the number) contact your financial institution right away to cancel the card. You could also contact the business that was paid with your false credit card information to stop those payments and hopefully get a refund. Filing a police report is also a good idea. It probably won’t lead to immediately catching the criminal, but it could help if many people in your area are getting victimized.