At Cyber
Shop Securely Online with These 5 Tips to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

Thinking about the holiday season conjures up happy memories with family and friends, and all the fun plans you have in store for this year. But, you’re probably not imagining spending hours on the phone with your credit card company disputing charges and missing Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, credit card fraud is a harsh reality for millions of Americans every year, especially around the holidays. 

While credit card fraud is a risk throughout the year, the increased amount of holiday shopping makes the end of the year a particularly vulnerable time. Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the shopping you forgot to do on the aforementioned days, your credit card will be getting a workout, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your information secure. 

Tips for Preventing Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

Credit card fraud comes in many forms, and by taking regular precautions and being attentive you can avoid it entirely. We’ve collected a few tips and tricks you can keep in your back pocket to have a smooth holiday season where no one enjoys your available credit but you. 

Avoid Lazy Hackers With Strong Passwords

You can skip a lot of unnecessary drama with your online accounts by creating strong passwords. In 2020, 37 percent of credential theft breaches used stolen or weak credentials according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. You don’t have to be good at math to know that having strong passwords significantly reduces your chances of credit card fraud. 

The easiest way to make and remember your new strong passwords is by using a password manager. A password manager stores your existing password and enables you to seamlessly generate strong passwords for old or new online accounts. Check out the Batten Marketplace for a few of our favorite options, like Dashlane or 1Password

Prevent Account Hacks By Setting up 2FA

Two-factor or multifactor authentication requires two methods of verification to access your account. The most secure methods use an app to generate a secondary code rather than just sending you a text (which is the default most credit card companies are already using). We highly recommend setting up two-factor authentication for all your online accounts that offer the extra security feature. 

Got more questions? Here’s a primer on two-factor authentication. 

Use a Private Network to Keep Your Credit Card Info Intact

Picture this. You are at your work’s holiday party or your town’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony when you get an email from your favorite store, alerting you to a flash sale. Everything is 90 percent off for only five minutes. Before inputting your credit card information do you:

  1. Connect to public Wi-Fi 
  2. Abandon your friends, family, and coworkers to run home immediately so you can use your Wi-Fi home connection
  3. Check to make sure your VPN is turned on

Ready for the answer? It’s C. No sale is worth shopping on an unsecured network, especially if you have to add your credit card info. It does happen sometimes so it’s best to cover that situation by using a VPN on all your devices

A VPN hides your IP address and keeps your transactions hidden. Even at home on a secured network, leave your VPN on! It goes a long way when it comes to your personal cybersecurity. 

Not sure which VPN to choose? We’ve compared some of the best ones on the market for you.

Sign Up for Transaction Alerts to Let Someone Else Do the Work for You

To keep yourself safe online, you should regularly check your credit card accounts for charges you don’t recognize. This is especially true during the holidays, but who wants to do that when there are presents to be wrapped and warm fires to sit next to? By setting up transaction alerts, you’ll never find a surprise on your credit card bill. 

With most credit cards you can set up alerts for:

  • Transactions higher than a certain limit
  • International purchases
  • Balance transfer requests
  • Unusual activity
  • Debit card usage
  • Large ATM withdrawal

Most credit card companies make it easy to sign up for transaction reports on their website or through their app, usually under your account settings. When you get an alert for something you don’t recognize, you can deal with it quickly and get back to your holiday celebrations. 

Get a Bodyguard for Your Personal Information

Identity theft protection services are like getting a bodyguard for your personal information. You pay a monthly or an annual fee, and the company looks out for potential fraud on your behalf. Identity protection companies are a step up from the alerts you might have on your credit card since they are a much more thorough accounting of how your information is being used online. 

Just like how a bodyguard is more necessary if you are rich or famous, there are factors that influence how vital it might be for you to purchase identity protection services. If you have already been the victim of identity theft, you aren’t in a position to freeze your credit reports or you know yourself well enough to recognize that you just won’t monitor your credit on your own, look into identity protection services. 

Not sure which identity protection service to use? We like Identity Guard. Not only does Identity Guard alert you to issues, but it also actively helps you resolve the situation, comes with identity theft insurance, and is the easiest to set up and use. 

Make it a Happier Holiday with Credit Card Fraud Prevention

Skip the stress at the end of the year by taking steps now to avoid credit card fraud. It might seem like a lot of additional time and energy on your part to keep yourself safe, but between habits like regularly checking your credit card statement and always using your VPN, and setting up alerts with identity protection services, you won’t have anything to worry about. 

Shop for cybersecurity solutions on the Batten Marketplace this holiday season!