Avoid Identity Theft This Holiday Season

Avoid Identity Theft This Holiday Season

After the Black Friday shoppers ravaged the mall, we went out to see if anything was left. Mainly we wanted to get out of the house walk off the mass amounts of turkey and stuffing eaten, but my daughter saw a trinket on sale that she wanted. Since she'd been good, we conceded to get it then rather than wait for Santa, and that's when my husband's charge card suddenly did not work.

He thought at first there was a problem with the card physically. He had gone to another store earlier and believed he put the card on something that would have rendered the magnetic strip useless. We bought the trinket with cash and didn't think anything of it for the rest of the day. We would call the bank on Monday and let them know we needed a new card.

On Monday, my husband checked our accounts online and noticed two odd charges made to gas stations in another state. Neither of us made the purchases, which led us to conclude that his card's cancellation was a security pre-caution, and that somebody had stolen the number. We reported the theft and took care of the situation. Luckily whoever had the number only made two small "feeler" charges and hadn't taken to the Internet to go on a spree.

All this time, we wondered how somebody else got the card's number. My husband had the physical card the entire time, so how was the number taken? After some research, I learned that there are a number of ways this is possible.

Somebody standing in line behind you takes a picture of your credit card as you purchase something. Avatar HD If they are able to deduce the CVV code, they can use the number online.

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Somebody taking your card to complete a purchase - like in a restaurant - could use a hand skimmer that collected the card's data. Avatar Stream This is not to say all waiters or store workers are dishonest, but when somebody needs to take your card out of sight there is the risk.

Somebody with a scanner that reads the chips on newer cards can scan the information, even if you haven't taken the card out of your wallet.
Sounds scary to think you aren't safe wherever you are, but there are ways to be vigilant, especially during the holidays when shopping reaches a peak.  When shopping, be as discreet as possible with your card and do not flash it around. Avatar Muvie If you're at an ATM, conceal your activity as much as possible. If you shop online, make sure you shop only from secure web stores. If possible, too, don't bring all of your cards with you when you go out. 

We were lucky this time, but we will definitely be careful going forward. Hope you will, too.

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