Saturday, November 14, 2015

Avoiding Credit Card Identity Theft During the Holidays

Avoiding Credit Card Identity Theft During the Holidays

You may already be checking names off on your gift list, but while you are racing around the mall or shopping online, make sure that you are not being careless with your identity.  More shopping means more opportunities for thieves to commit credit and identity theft, and you should be taking these protective steps:

Clean out your wallet.  Only carry one credit card at a time.  Never carry your passport or social security card in your wallet.  Carrying too much in your wallet can increase your chances of credit theft.  Also, carry your purse under your arm or keep your wallet in your front pocket to avoid pickpockets.

Keep an eye on your cards.  Card skimming often occurs when you have to hand your card to someone.  Keep an eye on what they do with it and how long they keep it.  It is also a good idea to write “check photo ID” on the back of your card so if the card were to be stolen, hopefully it will remind cashiers to ask for identification.  If they do not ask, remind them to so hopefully they can start to get in the habit of looking at the card.  After I got married, I continued to use a card that had my maiden name on it for almost a year.  The card said to check ID on the back, but even when the cashiers did ask to see ID, not once did they say anything about the last names on the card and my ID being different.  As more people are writing “check ID” on their cards, I hope cashiers are becoming more vigilant so they can help prevent credit theft.

Designate a card for online purchases.  Have one card that you use only for online purchases.  This way if there are fraudulent charges, they will be easier to identify.

Shop on recognized sites.  Those sites that you have never heard of that claim to have once in a lifetime deals are so tempting – but they can also be scams.  Try to stick to reputable sites to avoid credit theft.  If you are unfamiliar with a site, do some research before you make a purchase.  Be especially wary if the site is missing any one of the following: a phone number, a privacy policy, or a return policy.

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