Tis the Season ….. for Credit Card Fraud

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two largest sales days of the holiday season have come and gone.  Many remember the news headlines from last year regarding the massive amounts of credit and debit card information that was stolen from the retailer giant, Target.  Thousands of consumers fell victim to this theft of data, resulting in mass card cancellations and widespread anxiety.  Whether you are done with your holiday starting or yet to even start, here are some tips on how to protect your identity, your credit, and your pocket this season.

  1. Cash is King – in a world of plastic, and direct deposit, very few Americans carry money in their wallets. However, cash is accepted in nearly every brick and mortar retail store and does not carry any sensitive information along with it.  If you plan on visiting multiple retailers for single purchases, this might be the way to go.
  2. Use only Secure Websites – Nearly every small business retailer has a webpage where shoppers can order online. Look for retailers who utilize a secure SSL server.  You can check by observing the web address.  If the address begins with https://, it is a secure server.  If it begins https://, it is not safe.

You may also want to read their privacy and disclosure statements, ensuring that they will not disclose your information to third-party sources.  Some retailers will use your information for marketing purposes, either internally or sell your information to other retailers/marketers.

  1. Keep Track of your Purchases– Make a list of purchases, complete with dates and amounts as a record of any credit/debit card purchases. If you see any unauthorized transactions on your statement, call your credit card provider or bank and inform them immediately.

If you become a victim of credit fraud, you may be eligible to take criminal or civil action against the perpetrator.  It is the responsibility of retailers to safeguard your information, and credit fraud may cost you thousands of dollars, hurt your credit rating, and affect your ability to purchase or refinance a home.
If you need assistance in repairing your credit or filing a claim against a retailer for unauthorized transactions, call (352) 505-8900 to schedule a consultation with an attorney.  To learn more about consumer law, please visit one of our consumer law pages: https://352law.com/practice-areas/consumer-law/.

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