Credit cards have created countless conveniences when it comes to shopping. Swipes and taps particularly increase in the time between Black Friday and Christmas Eve for shoppers who prefer onsite purchases. Those who choose online shopping – particularly popular during a pandemic – enjoy the convenience of entering a credit card number and hitting “enter.”
However, that simple step can result in someone you do not see or know taking your personal information to enrich themselves.
Fraudsters hiding in plain sight
The holiday season is not just busy for brick-and-mortar and online stores. Fraudsters also ramp up their efforts to steal information to make illegal purchases, all the while hiding in plain sight. Victims who have racked up countless purchases on their statements may not even notice fraud, something that these criminal enterprises are counting on.
Their strategies are numerous and nefarious. Some send out seemingly legitimate emails or texts, promoting deals that are too good to pass up and too good to be true. Referred to as “phishing,” the target clicks an unverified link that gives the “sender” unlimited access to their credit cards, racking up unauthorized charge after unauthorized charge.
While it can seemingly happen to anyone, specific proactive steps can protect you from identity theft that includes the following:
- Keep an eye on your transactions – Periodic log-ins into your credit card account helps to identify suspicious activity and dispute the transaction quickly.
- Be alert – While the last thing you want is more notifications on your cell phone, signing up for transaction alerts can give you real-time information on any potentially illegal purchases.
- Avoid public WiFi – Many coffee shops offer the convenience of free WiFi for their customers. However, you may be paying a steeper price by shopping on an unsecured network.
- Don’t save credit card info – Card data that automatically pops up makes purchasing convenient and quick for not only you but also those looking to steal your information.
Simple strategies can help maintain the security of your credit cards and avoid the inconvenience that comes with credit card fraud.