Tis the season for family, happiness, candy canes, and credit card theft.
Families across the U.S. favor online shopping for the holidays. $44 billion will be spent on online shopping this holiday season according to Forrester Research Inc. Due to the economic status,consumers are more likely to purchase online due to the possibility to save money.
Forrester Research Inc. calculated that in 2007 about 33% of all purchases made in the holiday season were paid for by credit cards, and 40% paid with debit cards.
Credit card holders can be victim of fraud within seconds of making a purchase from an unknown Web site, or by purchasing an item over the phone and giving out the credit card number.
Usually for the credit card holder, the first sign that they are a victim of theft is the unknown purchases on the credit card bill, but even then it might be too late.
“I had a nanny that would take my credit card during the day and make her purchases with it, then bring it back to my house. I noticed unknown purchases on our credit card bill. It took us 92 days to catch her. Our lawyer said he could have done more if we had caught her at 90 days,” said Kimberly Lee, a Bullard resident.
Not only is it inconvenient to have your credit card stolen, but also it may take years to repair the damage that has been done.
“To this day, it still is an absolute hell. We had to put a fraud alert out on my card, and it is very hard for to me to use my own credit card for purchases. I do not want to cancel the card because it is well established credit,” Lee said.
Jackie S. Warren, Vice President of Operations at the Better Business Bureau of Mississippi, gives some helpful tips to prevent credit card theft.
“Check your credit card statements regularly. While at a restaurant keep a good watch on your card while it is being processed. Request a credit check at least twice a year.”
Shoppers also need to worry about the actual products being purchased on Web sites such as eBay.
In the U.K., a man by the name of Chris Read is being sued for libel for leaving honest feedback on a Joel Jones’s eBay account due to a cell phone that Jones sold to Read.
Read claims that he did not receive the cell phone that he had purchased, but an older version that was scratched and dented.
According to the eBay Security Center, situations like these can be prevented by the “ask seller a question” link. That link will allow the buyers to ask the sellers additional questions that they might want answered before making a purchase. For additional tips visit the Security Center at eBay.com.
Online theft isn’t the only common theft during the holiday season.
With the packed malls and department stores, a customer might make it very easy for someone to snatch their purse.
That won’t only give them access to credit cards; they could walk away with everything from driver’s license to social security cards.
“Do not leave your purse in the car, and if you do, put it in the trunk,” Detective Rhoads, of the Tyler Police Department, said. “While shopping, keep your credit cards in your pocket instead of a purse. Avoid giving credit card information out over the phone. During the holidays always park in a well-lit area and have your keys out before leaving the store.”