As the holiday season approaches, it’s a good idea to be on high alert for any fraudulent attacks and phishing attempts. Being scammed isn’t fun. And when fraud is committed, it can wreak havoc on your life and personal finances, especially when credit cards are involved. If you fall victim to identity theft, you are not alone, and help is available to you.
How to Keep Your Identity Safe
Even though you may have taken every precaution, scamming and fraud happens. Use these 8 tips below to help protect yourself.
- Take advantage of alerts to monitor your debit and credit cards.
- Pay attention to whether websites, links, and emails seem legitimate, before clicking on them.
- When possible, use stored payment information instead of entering card information on web forms, because these forms may have malware installed.
- Make sure your computers, laptops, and mobile devices have the latest antivirus, antispyware, and firewall protection.
- When buying online, purchase from well-known websites.
- If you’re not familiar with a company, go directly to a website, instead of purchasing through their social media channel or social media advertisements.
- Be aware of shimming and skimming devices when you visit an ATM or gas pump (Tip: use the pump closest to the entrance door).
- Monitor and review your accounts daily and report the unknown activity immediately.
Common Scams to Watch Out For
Donation and Fake Charities
Before you donate to a charity or crowdfund, make sure it’s legitimate. You can use sites like Charity Navigator to learn more about nonprofits and make sure they’re reputable. If you donate to crowdfunding, give wisely. If you donate to crowdfunding, give wisely.
E-commerce sites with weak links are a haven for scammers. A consumer who’s redirected to a malicious domain can have their information on the checkout page captured by a skimming code quickly, which is sent to criminals on a remote server. Your credit card data can be sold or used to make fraudulent purchases. Avoid this by using your debit card online. If you use a credit card, you have less of a change of going negative in your main bank account. If fraudulent activity occurs on your checking account through your debit card, you may have to close your current checking account and open a new one.
Especially around the holidays, thieves may steal packages from doorsteps and porches. If you live in an apartment, ask to have your packages delivered to the leasing office. If your family works from home, let them know that you’re expecting packages.
Shipment Update Scams
Watch out for fake emails about delivery failures or the request for shipping information. The email may look real, but there’s a good chance it’s fake and contains malware. When in doubt, don’t provide personal information and contact the company you bought goods or services from directly.
Social Media Scams
Click on an ad, and it may lead to a fake website. If you proceed to enter your payment information, you may never see the goods. Worse yet is that your identity may be stolen! Additionally, make sure your antivirus software is up to date so that you can avoid being scammed on social media.
Stop Scammers from Ruining Your Finances and Well-Being
When scammers enter your life, they cause you stress, frustration, time, and money. Plus, dealing with identity theft and fraudulent activity on your credit or debit cards is something that you shouldn’t have to deal with, especially since it may take a while to sort things out.
The more you know how to protect yourself against identity theft, scams and fraud schemes, the better. Refer back to this blog post as often as needed and share it with your family and friends.
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