Updated: Jan 10
The 2021 holiday season has begun! For me, the holidays are full of traditions passed down from one generation to the next. I love the lights and the festive activities. Most of all, I love spending time with my family. This time of year is a magical time, but it is also a time where many people get taken advantage of. Here are 5 ways you can protect yourself against fraud this holiday season:
Use your credit card instead of your debit card. I rarely use my debit card. In fact, I don't even carry it with me. With a debit card, a scammer can empty your bank account before you even realize it. I learned this lesson the hard way. I used my debit card to put air in my tire at a local convenient store. I didn't have change. It was a $1.50 transaction. They took out 30 $1.50 transactions from my bank account. Luckily, I check my bank balance on the regular, so I noticed it and reported it quickly.
This brings me to tip #2, if you do use your debit card, I would recommend taking a look at the transactions on a daily basis. Also, make sure you balance your checkbook each month. Most people only check their bank balance online. Balancing your checkbook each month is a way to keep track of your finances and detect any fraudulent transactions.
If it sounds to be good to be true, it probably is. Beware of unknown calls and/or emails. Trust your gut and remember question anything that doesn't seem legit. Scammers are smart, and they are constantly coming up with new schemes. We need to remember nothing is free - there is always a cost involved. So again, if you think it is too good to be true, more than likely you are correct.
Never give out your personal information to people who contact you via phone or email. Particularly you social security number. Guard that number and do not give it to anyone who contacts you out of the blue
Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Most of your credit card companies have a free credit monitoring feature, such as Capital One CreditWise. Credit Karma is also a free resource that pulls your information from 2 credit bureaus. It is also smart to pull your credit report annually. You can do this for free once a year at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
Unfortunately, there is no way to 100% prevent fraud. However, following these tips will greatly reduce your chances of being a victim this holiday season. From all of us at Carson Madison, we wish you the most fantastic holiday season ever!
For information regarding how to protect your business against fraud, click this link to schedule a consultation with one of our Certified Fraud Examiners https://calendly.com/jennicamoore/fraud-risk-management-consultation