Fraud Prevention Tips for the Holidays

As more and more data breaches make news headlines, it’s becoming increasingly clear that fraud prevention should be an important part of every consumer’s practices.  According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers lost more than $2 billion to fraud in 2016, and this amount seems destined to increase.  Holiday shopping will likely increase where and how often you use your credit cards over the next few weeks.  It is important to know how to safeguard your transactions to help prevent becoming a fraud statistic.

Pacific Service Credit Union offers a host of features and services that will help protect you throughout the holidays and beyond.

Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout is an easy way to pay for purchases at a growing list of online retailers. Instead of entering your card information to complete the transaction, simply enter your Visa Checkout login and password. It’s safe, easy and fast. The list of online stores offering Visa Checkout continues to grow daily. Once enrolled in Visa Checkout, you can view the current list of participating online stores. To enroll in the Visa Checkout program, go to visa.com/createAccount.

Visa Fraud Alerts

Pacific Service CU also employs a sophisticated, state-of-the-art security program to identify purchases outside of your normal spending pattern.  If the system detects a purchase that is deemed outside your normal card activity, you’ll receive a real-time text or email alert asking you to confirm the transaction. If we’re unable to reach you by text message, a fraud representative will contact you by phone.

Chip Technology

Our Visa Platinum Rewards card is equipped with chip technology.  It is just one of the many ways that you can protect your accounts from unauthorized use. The tiny chip embedded in the card protects you from fraud by creating a one-time code for each transaction. This code is virtually impossible to counterfeit and helps reduce in-store fraud. 

Other Timely Tips to Help Avoid Fraud

In addition to the Visa card account features mentioned above, there are other smart shopper tips that can help keep you “shopping safe” over the holidays. These include:

Beware of unsolicited emails and phone calls

A common tactic thieves use is to send emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, like a popular retailer, which contains an altered URL. Anyone who clicks on the link is sent to a fake site designed to collect personal account information.  Since consumers receive so many promotional emails around the holidays, it’s a particularly vulnerable time.  Be careful and cautious about clicking on a link from any unsolicited email unless you are certain it’s from a legitimate source.

Similarly, fraudsters may call with claims that your card has been compromised and that it needs to be replaced.  In some cases, this may be true, but legitimate fraud prevention calls will not ask you to divulge sensitive information.  Never provide any personal or account information over the phone unless you initiate the phone call.  If you are concerned about the legitimacy of a phone call, you should contact the company directly.  

Review your account statements frequently

While you might typically wait for your monthly credit card statement to review charges, it’s wise to examine charges more frequently around the holiday season. This way you can see anything erroneous and report it quicker. If your card has been compromised, your issuer can shut it down and issue a new one.

Be on the lookout for skimmers

“Skimming” is a way for fraudsters to steal credit card information.  A small device can be installed on credit card terminals at virtually any point-of-sale including gas pumps, retail stores or on ATMs.  Skimmers copy your card information and allow thieves to replicate your card to make unauthorized purchases.

By using some or all of these tips and card features, you can fight back against fraud and have greater peace of mind.

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