National Retail Federation forecasts holiday spending to total $656 billion in November and December. Millions of consumers like you will use credit cards to complete those transactions. Protect your credit card data online and in stores with these tips.
- Use credit, not debit. Credit cards typically have better protection than debit cards. Further, if your data is skimmed, or an online account is hacked, criminals will not have access to your actual bank account.
- Use a strong password to protect your online shopping accounts. Strong passwords have at least eight characters including numbers, letters, uppercase, and special characters.
- Protect your credit card data. Do not give credit card number, expiration date, or security code to anyone over the phone unless you initiated the contact.
- Shop at reputable businesses. Trust your gut. If a merchant seems shady, abort the transaction.
- Reconcile your credit card statement. Reviewing a credit card statement is tedious work. But, it is the best way for you identify fraud quickly. Set-up alerts to notify you of large purchases or suspicious activity.
Photo: 401(k)2012 via flickr.