For many, it’s a nightmare. You find the perfect gift for a loved one on your holiday shopping list. You wait in a long line at the register and then your card is declined. You know you have money, so it doesn’t make much sense. You give your bank a phone call and find that there have been many fraudulent charges made from your account. Game over. Now you have to spend the next couple of weeks trying to get by without access to your funds and closely monitoring your account activity.
Identity theft is a legal headache, and it can turn an otherwise wonderful holiday season into a stressful time. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to avoid fraud:
Cover the PIN pad
If you use a debit card at a checkout counter, be sure to cover the PIN pad from prying eyes when you type in your personal identification number. It’s also a good idea to pick a PIN that you can remember without writing it down.
Keep your eyes on your card at all times
Credit and debit cards are especially vulnerable when they are in the hands of others. Make sure no cashiers put your card out of view or take it into another room. The longer they are alone with the card, the longer they have to copy your information.
Only do business with reputable online stores
If the online store you’re considering buying from looks sketchy, it probably is. Use your best judgment when it comes to divulging personal financial information.
If you are able to, pay with cash
Stop by Resource One Credit Union and withdraw some funds for your holiday shopping extravaganza! Just be careful to protect your purse or wallet at all times.