The holiday season is a time for celebrating and connecting with family and friends. It’s also a time of increased spending. Many consumers rely on electronic methods to cover the cost of gifts, travel, parties and gatherings, and other holiday cheer. Unfortunately, scammers and identity thieves ramp up their efforts during this time of year to take advantage of people’s generous natures and increased use of bank and credit cards—which can disrupt plans and wreak havoc on your credit.
With vigilance, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to these humbug scammers. The following are some tips to help protect yourself during this holiday season:
Monitor your accounts. Identity thieves know that consumers may be distracted and use their credit cards more often during the holiday season. Pay close attention to the charges hitting your account. You might consider setting up automated notifications, which alert you when your card is used to purchase so that you can quickly respond to any suspicious activity.
Limit card use. Use as few credit cards as possible to track your purchases more easily. Fewer cards also mean fewer points of entry for scammers.
Shop online at stores you trust. Scammers and identity thieves often make legitimate-looking websites to gain access to personal and credit card information. Before you enter credit card numbers and other important information online, confirm that the website is authentic and secure by verifying “HTTPS” is in the address.
Watch out for spam phone calls and phishing emails. You may get phone calls and emails from scammers pretending to be from your bank, requesting sensitive information like passwords, account numbers, or your Social Security number. These requests are a tip-off that you may be dealing with a criminal and immediately contact the fraud department at your bank.
Don’t shop on public Wi-Fi. Taking advantage of free Wi-Fi while on the go can be tempting. Unfortunately, many of these networks are unsecured, making them a perfect target for hackers. Whenever possible, use cellular data instead, especially while online purchasing, where you might be entering sensitive credit card information.
Regularly review your credit reports. Review your credit reports regularly to ensure that your credit information is complete and accurate. Most credit reporting agencies allow you to get a free credit report every year. Reviewing at least annually can alert you to any suspicious activity indicating identity theft or other fraud.
If you have any needs regarding budgeting and safeguarding your credit during this time of year, please reach out. It’s also an excellent time to review and update your financial plan for the coming year. We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season!
Protect Your Credit from Scammers This Holiday Season
December 20, 2022