The holidays are busy for almost everyone. Many of us are stressed and tired. Others are constantly looking for the best deals on gifts and need to shop around several different places to find them. It can get confusing keeping track of what we’ve spent and where we’ve spent it. Unfortunately there are those out there that take advantage of this and we may find ourselves to be the victim of credit card fraud.
How Can You Prevent Online Fraud? While it may be impossible, unless you don’t have a credit or debit card, to completely prevent it here are some great guidelines to help us make it more difficult for fraud to happen:
- Beware of phishing scams. Don’t give your account number out to anyone!
- Make sure the company you are doing business with is reputable, if in doubt don’t do it!
- Don’t carry your cards in your purse. Keep them separate and only carry the ones you need.
- Keep your card in your sight and always make sure you get it back after each purchase.
- Never sign a blank receipt for anything.
- Keep your receipts to compare to your statements and watch for discrepancies on your bills.If in question about any transaction, call the company and/or your credit card provider.
- If you are traveling you should let your provider know when and where.
- Let your provider know if your phone number and/or address changes.
- Never write your account number down where others could have access to it.
- Always be on the lookout for skimmers.
You can also make sure you have accounts set up with hard to crack passwords and change your passwords on a regular basis. You may want to write them down in a secure place like this pocket sized journal.
You can add security questions to any accounts now. You should use questions that only you would know the answers too.
Always make sure you logout out of your accounts when accessing them on your computer or mobile device.
If you do find yourself the victim of fraud it is important to take action immediately.
- Report the fraud to the card provider.
- You may need to cancel or suspend your cards and/or accounts.
- You may also need to file a police report or affidavit.
- File a complaint with the FTC.
Remember that this happens to the best of us. Even celebrities have found themselves victims of fraud. It can be stressful but try your best to stay calm and BREATHE!
Fortunately many credit card providers monitor their accounts closely and are able to notice suspicious activity. I know in my case that I have been able to work with the card providers to rectify the situation quickly and get things back to ‘normal’. However past experiences keep me extra cautious.
Just remember to stay alert and keep watch on those charges!