It’s ‘Cyber Monday’, a day when many online retailers are running sales similar to bricks&mortar sales from Black Friday. But do you know who is seeing your credit card details, or how to make sure you don’t become the victim of identity theft?

The following 12 tips will help you shop online and at area retailers with confidence and security.

Credit Card Theft Prevention

It appears in recent weeks that several people in the area have become victims of fraudulent bank account transactions from several banks including BofA, BAC,CITI, and Banco National.  The individuals were immediately notified by their banks security department and fortunately the transactions were blocked before debiting the accounts.  CAP is advising everyone to check your accounts now.  The mode of operation of this fraud appears to be a small transaction followed by a substantially larger transaction.

1)      Check your Transactions often with Online Banking to notice and report any fraud immediately to your bank.

2)      Split your usage transactions between cards. Using one card for local purchases and another card for online transactions will not only help organize accounting but will make it easy to identify how your identity information was stolen when investigating after.

3)       Shop only with secure online sites. Make sure you shop at trusted websites which use secured pages(https://) when you are ready to enter in your credit card details. If you have any doubts about a merchant than call the retailer to process the transaction by phone.

4)       Use Virtual Credit Card numbers for online purchases to insure that others sloppy security practices don’t open them up to hackers obtaining your credit card details. Bank of America offers “Shopsafe” with online banking. Citibank uses “Virtual Account Numbers” with online banking. Discover uses “Secure Online Account Numbers” as a desktop or browser tool to generate a temporary card number.

5)      Use Temporary Prepaid Cards for purchasing items in person. Amex, Visa, and MasterCard all sell prepaid credit cards to make online or in person purchases. Anonymous Credit Cards typically cost 5 dollars per card and can be loaded up to 250.00US dollars. Reloadable Cards without restrictions typically sell for 10 dollars each.

6)      Write “Check Identification” rather than signing your credit card and remove the 3 or 4 digit Card Verification Code if you can memorize it or store it in with a secured password manager.

7)      Promptly notify credit card companies of a change of address to insure your invoices and replacement cards are being sent to the new address.

8)      Shred Credit Card Statements and Credit Reports before throwing them in the trash.

9)      Keep your SS number and other identification numbers hidden.

10)   Verify and dispute any inaccurate Credit information by first pulling your credit report once a year.

11)   Cover your Pin Entry at the ATM. Thieves use sophisticated pinhole cameras to capture your pin code or simply will look over your shoulder. Always use one hand to shield your pin entry.

12)   Use a Secure Computer. Make sure your Operating System has up to date security patches, all your software is updated (especially the latest Adobe Reader and Flash) and you regularly scan your system for viruses.

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