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Taking certain precautions and additional security measures can protect your credit cards during the holidays and throughout the entire year.
Having your identity stolen would be a devastating thing during the holidays, as well as any other day of the year. Imagine the anguish that credit card fraud would cause for you and your family; and especially around the time of year that normally would be a joyful time.
Credit card fraud and identity theft is on the rise among shoppers at the mall or department stores and is now becoming an increasing threat to internet shoppers. The best things that you can do to protect yourself from being victimized by credit card fraud are to be cautious and use common sense.
Look for the padlock icon to identify a secure website whenever you are shopping and making purchases online. The icon should show in the bottom portion of the screen to indicate that the site is secure. Also, if you see “https” as the beginning of the URL in the address bar, it will tell you that it is, in fact, a secure site.
There are internet scammers that are able to produce fake websites that look identical to the actual merchant website. Look for the padlock and the https to protect yourself and your credit card information during the holidays and every other day, as well.
When you are making a purchase in the stores, take a look around just to get an idea of how close people are to you and who might be looking over your shoulder. This is one of the easiest ways for a thief to get your personal identification number while you are keying it in. As unlikely as you may think it would be for someone to do this, it happens every single day. Some deceitful people will even use their cell phone or pocket camera to actually photograph your credit card to get the numbers. So, simple precautions like shielding your card and watching your back will help deter a thief while making public purchases.
While dining out during the holidays and paying with your credit card, take your receipts and the carbon copies with you. Don’t leave your receipts behind for a possible identity thief to confiscate your information. Cross out, make a line through or write in the number zero on any empty lines or spaces. This will prevent someone from including any additional fraudulent charges onto your credit card.
Be sure that all of your credit cards are signed on the back with your signature and have identification with you in the event that you are asked for it. Cashiers and store clerks are supposed to ask for some form of ID in order to prevent an unauthorized use and to match the signatures to ensure identification.
Also, common sense should tell you to never write your personal identification number anywhere on the credit card itself.
In addition to the precautions listed above, only carry the credit cards that you plan on using during your shopping trip. You shouldn’t carry all of your credit cards in your purse or wallet, because if a theft were to take place, it could mean a serious loss to you. Besides the potential of losing money, it also would cause a great deal of time to be lost in tracking, replacing or canceling the cards.
It is also a good practice to keep your credit cards in a separate compartment in your purse, like inside a zippered pocket and not in a wallet. Even placing them in your pocket would be a good common sense practice during the holidays when shopping.