It’s that time of year again! The holidays are right around the corner. Are you ready? Have you purchased your holiday gifts? Do you need to buy additional decorations? Have you made your travel plans and booked your flights for family gatherings? How do you plan to pay for holiday meals? No matter which holiday you celebrate, all these questions and more are probably running through your head as the days fly by. But with all this holiday shopping, one of the most important questions you should be asking yourself is, are you shopping safely?
Technology makes paying for your holiday gifts, decorations, plane tickets, and celebratory meals so easy! And since you are so busy, you want things to go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Just swipe a credit card or type in a password and your purchase is made within a few seconds. While technology makes shopping for the perfect gift easy, it also adds potential security issues if you aren’t careful.
One of the newest ways to pay is to link your credit card to your phone using Near Field Communication (NFC). This quick and easy method of communication allows you to simply tap your phone on a special processor to quickly complete payment using applications like Apple Pay, Masterpass, or Android Pay. But is it safe? Unfortunately, with all the giving that comes with the holidays, scammers are ready to do the taking. A hacker getting your credit card information is the same as a thief stealing the credit card out of your wallet. The results are fraudulent purchases which will ruin your holidays and put your money at risk. Lessen your risk by following these safe shopping guidelines:
- Use a credit card and not a debit card.
- Only purchase gift cards directly from the store.
- Require a signature on all package deliveries.
- Before donating to a charity, make sure it is registered with your state’s Secretary of State.
- Do not use public Wi-Fi to make credit card purchases, or to check sensitive financial information.
- Beware of too-good-to-be-true deals offered by imposter websites.
- Closely monitor your purchase history on your credit card bill.
Following these simple guidelines will make holiday buying more secure, and you are less likely to become a victim of holiday scammers.
It boils down to this: You are your best line of defense against fraud. Actively following these guidelines can help keep your holidays merry and less stressful. Happy safe shopping everyone! And Happy Holidays!