There are many types of fraud that can take place with any financial institution, credit card company or any individual. Most banks and credit unions have systems in place to prevent system wide fraud, however, with the holiday season in full effect and wrapping up soon, credit and/or debit card fraud are the most likely to happen this time of year. This can wreak havoc on one and their holidays and is easily preventable in most cases.
An estimated 30 million people in the U.S become victims of credit card fraud each year with that number continuing to rise. Here at True Sky Credit Union, one of the preventative measures we take is the occasional spending limits at certain merchants/stores. These tend to be locations where those who have committed fraud go to first and know that IDs are not checked and stolen cards can easily be used. We put these limits in place so that when you need to make a larger purchase at that store, we verify it’s in fact you making that purchase by entering your debit card pin number. This number is of course unique to you and a number only you should know.
Another way the cards can be compromised are by ATM skimmers. These devices collect your debit and credit card number and are then used to make a number of purchases before being noticed. In most cases, you’ll be able to physically see when a skimmer is in use. Check ATMs, gas pumps and anywhere else where you may insert your card for purchases and cash. The chip that you find in most of your cards now help prevent most cases of fraud, but numbers and information can still be collected by skimmers.
In general, there are a few guidelines that you can follow to prevent the more popular forms of fraud. Employing a few of these practices into your routine can keep your cards and accounts safe when online shopping anytime of the year.
- Check your statements regularly online, not just the monthly paper statements (Sign up for e-statements!)
- Watch for transactions that you didn’t make.
- Limit your online purchasing to one card. When you use more cards, you allow access to more accounts.
- Keep record of your internet transactions.
- Check your email for a confirmation after you have made purchases online.
- Save your receipts to compare with your statement.
- Notify your bank before you travel.
- * This is especially true for the holiday season since many travel AND shop at the same time. Financial instutions have fraud prevention techniques that may put a hold on your card automatically if out-of-the-norm transactions are taking place.
The holidays are meant to bring joy to others while spending time with your friends and family. You don’t need to have the added stress around this time of year because of fraud. Be aware of where you spend your money, how you spend it and what you can do to limit exposure of your cards and accounts online. These are sure to make your holiday season merry and bright!
Happy holidays from all of us at True Sky Credit Union.