Tips to Avoid Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner. For many that means a time to be joyful and giving. For others, it marks the perfect time to take advantage of increased spending to steal consumers’ personal financial information. 

It’s a sad reality that during a time of year that is meant to be merry, we need to be very careful of thieves and hackers. A click of the mouse to add items to your online shopping cart may seem like the easiest way to get holiday shopping done, but online shopping offers a window of opportunity for cyberhackers if not done securely. (Even while shopping in-person, we need to be vigilant of credit card skimmers.)

In 2020, consumers reported 4.7 million cases of fraud, identity theft and other consumer deceptions!

Below are a few tips to protect you, your credit and identity as you shop:

Look for secure websites: If you’re shopping from a new website make sure there is an “s” included in the web address. It should be “https” in the URL not just “http.” The ‘s’ is for secure. A small padlock icon should also be present in the address bar.

Be on the Alert: If it’s an option, activate alerts from the card company to let you know when your credit card has been used or when a suspicious transaction has been made.  Or when there is a charge made above a certain dollar value. Setting alerts will allow you to act fast and freeze your card if necessary. 

Stay Private: Do your online shopping on a private network. NEVER be tempted to shop online using free public WiFi at a coffee shop or library. If you’re shopping online outside of your home or office, make sure you use a VPN, virtual private network.

Be Vigilant with Emails: Do not click on any links or download attachments from a sender you don’t know. Such a mistake can put your personal information into the wrong hands. There are companies that may even pose as FedEx, UPS or another delivery service to say “your package is on its way” with a fake tracking link. That phish bait will give cyberattackers access to your financial information. Always be vigilant! 

Get Chipped: Chip cards are safer to use than magnetic stripe cards. When using a chip card, an encrypted code is generated each time a transaction is made. The code helps to conceal your credit card numbers. 

Use Unique Passwords: There are many of us who are guilty about using the same password or two for everything. This is dangerous! Although it can be challenging to remember or keep a record of all your passwords, it is best to use different passwords for each shopping site you use. If a cybercriminal gets a hold of one of your passwords, they will attempt to use it on other websites. Use a mix of lower case, upper case, symbols and numbers to make passwords difficult to crack.

ICC can help put a comprehensive security plan in place to protect your financial information. We conduct a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. Our defense strategy includes network security, email security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.


November 16, 2022

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