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How to Avoid Credit Card Fraud, According to a Delaware Expert

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The holidays are an especially vulnerable time for credit card fraud. Here, a Delaware expert reveals how to protect your wallet.

Banks and other financial institutions issue hundreds of credit cards to consumers every day. Most people carry one or more, and they are heavily used for holiday shopping, says Darrin J. Wilson, Chase community manager at the Wilmington branch. “But now credit card fraud is more frequent than ever. Millions of people are victimized by credit card breaches every year, with the holiday shopping season a particularly vulnerable time.” Here’s how you can protect your wallet.

Look for cards with liability protection

If your credit or debit cards are physically stolen or used without your authorization, you may not be liable for any charges. If your card has zero liability protection, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges.

Stay alert

Sign up for account alerts. Chase, for example, uses specialized fraud monitoring tools and will text or email cardholders to alert them to unusual card activity. If fraud is suspected or your card is stolen, a good provider will ship a new card to you immediately—even if you’re traveling abroad.

Go paperless

Sign up to access your credit and debit card accounts online. Be sure to monitor it every few days—or more frequently during the busy shopping season. If you spot anything inaccurate or unauthorized, contact your provider’s customer service center immediately. If you wait to get your statement in the mail, weeks may pass before you identify a fraudulent transaction—which tend to grow in volume and amount if they go undetected.

Keep contact information up to date

If you move or get a new cellphone number, make sure you update your contact information accordingly with your card provider. That will ensure they are able to reach you in the case of suspected fraud or another emergency.

Strengthen your password

It may seem inconvenient, but a long password—using numbers, letters and symbols—is much harder to hack. If you choose something simple or personal (like birth dates or your kids’ names), savvy hackers may be able to break the code simply by reading your profile on social media. Plus, it’s not a bad idea to change your password every few months.

Throughout the end-of-year shopping season, and anytime, be vigilant in following these steps in tandem with a card issuing partner that is similarly attentive. Doing so will further the likelihood of happier, stress-free holidays.

Related: 6 Holiday Craft Workshops to Celebrate the Season in Delaware

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