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You'll often hear it's important to not run up a large credit card tab during the holidays. But it's equally important to safeguard your credit card information and personal data so you don't fall victim to fraud.
Credit card fraud can run the gamut from fake charges on your account to someone using your name to open up a new card. Here are some simple moves to prevent fraudsters from using your card without permission during the holiday season.
1. Use complex, unique passwords for your credit card accounts
It'll be a lot harder for a criminal to hack your credit card accounts if your passwords are hard to crack. A good bet is to use a password manager to generate passwords for different accounts and store them safely. That way, your accounts will remain secure.
2. Set up alerts for new purchases
At a time when you're probably doing a lot of shopping, it's easy enough for a fraudulent charge to slip through the cracks. That's why it's a smart idea to sign up for email or text alerts with your credit card issuers. If you do, you'll get a message any time your card is used. If a notification pops up for a purchase that you didn't make, you'll know to contact your credit card's fraud department immediately.
3. Check your accounts every few days
Sometimes, credit card alerts can fail, or a text can go unnoticed when you're busy. That's why it's a good idea to take a few minutes every few days to check your credit card accounts. This will show you your balance and help you avoid overspending. It will also give you an opportunity to spot and dispute fraudulent purchases.
4. Shred all documents that contain your credit card number
Between cards from friends and mailers from retailers, you may find yourself up to your ears in papers during the holidays. But before you toss everything, take a look at any documents you receive from your credit card issuers. You never know when a document might contain personal data like your credit card number, and those are papers you'll want to shred rather than throw directly in the recycling bin.
5. Only access your credit card from your issuer's website
Scammers have a way of sending out emails or texts that seem legitimate but aren't. It's a good bet, therefore, not to click on random links. Make a point to only access your credit cards through their issuers' websites. That way, your login data won't get into the wrong hands.
The holidays can be stressful enough between shopping, traveling, and stretching your budget. The last thing you need is a case of credit card fraud to make your life even more difficult. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll steer clear of fraud both during the holidays and throughout the rest of the year.