By Chris Damron, of Digital Financial Group
We’ve heard many news stories recently of retailers, both big and small, having breaches of their customers’ financial and other personal data. Given the havoc that can be wreaked on your life by these breaches, we are providing some quick, helpful tips on keeping your credit cards safe.
• First and foremost, don’t let your credit card out of your sight.
• Keep or tear up all restaurant receipts, as leaving a receipt allows for someone to alter the tip amount; adding an unauthorized amount that is greater than intended.
• Always verify that the amount on your receipt matches up with your purchases. This seems obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t reconcile their account these days; especially on smaller purchases. We’ve also seen instances where a cashier will add cash back to an unsuspecting customer’s purchase and pocket it.
• Don’t leave your card on the counter face up. High-powered digital surveillance cameras possess the ability to zoom in and capture a card number while it’s sitting on the counter. You never know who is watching.
• Know from whom you’re buying when shopping online. There are always inherent risks with shopping online, but shopping at a disreputable website can significantly increase your risk. Be sure to do research on companies from which you are making purchases.
• Be diligent about monitoring your bank account. Since purchasing is more frequent during the holidays, people tend to neglect checking on their account. Risk is lowered the sooner you catch fraudulent activity.
• And finally, look for unrecognizable purchases for smaller dollar amounts. Fraudsters will sometimes make small purchases to either verify that the card number they have is valid or to take advantage of the fact that most people don’t monitor small purchases closely enough.
There will never be a fool-proof way to avoid financial fraud, but staying vigilant and contacting your credit card issuer when you have questions you will help minimize your exposure.
Have a happy and safe holiday shopping season!