The holiday shopping season is upon us. With that, the possibility of identity thieves using your financial information to purchase items increases. That’s because it becomes easier for these fraudulent purchases to slip by shoppers who are too busy making numerous transactions.
Every year, thousands of U.S. residents are victimized by some form of credit card or identity theft, but experts in fraud prevention say there are ways to guard against it:
Monitor your bank account and credit card statements regularly. Report suspicious transactions immediately.
While people don’t want to rack up credit card debt, it’s safer to use credit cards over debit cards when making purchases. Credit card companies will reimburse cardholders on fraudulent purchases or transactions, while cash savings tapped by identity thefts through debit card information are harder to recoup.
Make sure your passwords vary for different online accounts. Don’t use the same access code or password for all your accounts in the event one of them gets hacked. When taking out money at ATMs or using your debit card to pay for gas at the pumps, make sure bystanders do not see your access code. And make sure card readers at gas pumps or ATMs haven’t been tampered with.
Pay attention to possibly suspicious holiday solicitations for money or personal information, online and by phone.