The holiday season is quickly approaching, and everyone knows what that means—lots of shopping, busy malls, and many well-exercised credit cards. Increasingly, the credit card workout kicks off with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Credit Card Fraud Protection

Before you go putting that credit card to good use, have you thought about how you are going to safeguard yourself against fraud? With so many shoppers using their credit cards online and in-store, the holiday season is, unfortunately, also a busy time for those committing credit card fraud.

Minimize the chance you'll fall victim to credit card fraud with these 10 must-follow tips:

  • Never lend your credit card, or share your credit card's PIN; and, when entering your PIN cover the keypad so that others aren't able to make out what it is.
  • Be proactive. Check your financial statements regularly; each month at the very minimum but preferably more often. Check your credit card activity online to monitor your account activity in real-time, and remember to:
    • Change your passwords regularly and use strong passwords.
    • Logout of all personal accounts when finished and avoid accessing or using your account information on public computers.
    • Keep a record of all online transactions.
  • Make purchases from only trusted sources. Also, only buy from sites where your transaction is encrypted. Look for URLs that start with "https" or have a padlock image next to the website's address.
  • Don't make purchases with your card by email. Email is generally not secure, and if you're giving out your credit card details by email you're leaving yourself exposed.
  • If you don't recognize a charge, call your credit card issuer immediately. If your account has been compromised be sure to also request a replacement card (and cut up the old one when you receive it).
  • Always have a copy of your credit card number, and the toll-free customer service number located on the back of your card, in a secure place that is separate from your credit card. That way should your credit card go missing; you will have the information you need handy to make the call.
  • Be honest, do you check your credit report regularly? Canada's Financial Consumer Agency recommends that you check your credit report at least once a year.

    For a free copy of your credit report by mail, you can head over to Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. These are the two national credit bureaus of Canada and you should check in with both bureaus when checking your credit report.
  • Sign new cards with permanent ink as soon as you receive them. As well, treat your credit cards like cash and never leave your card unattended. Even if your credit card uses PIN technology, it is still at risk for fraud.
  • Be wary of "Phishing" or "brand spoofing". It is common for hackers to use fraudulent, but authentic-looking, emails and websites. They do this in order to make you think that they are legitimate companies and trick you into disclosing private information that they need to commit their fraudulent activity.
  • If you get your credit card statements in the mail, keep them secured, and shred them when you no longer need them. Also, remember to notify your credit card company if you move.

Credit card fraud is a serious problem, but following these tips is a great way to prevent credit card fraud while you shop for everyone on your holiday list.

Credit Card Information

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