November 28 was Cyber Monday, a popular time to head online and take advantage of deals and offers to get as many bargains as possible. While Americans across the country may be cashing in on cheap products, it's also a time when fraudsters are active. As the holiday season approaches, it becomes increasingly important to stay alert with regards to online payments.
Banks across the U.S. are urging shoppers to stay safe and keep an eye on their credit card statements to ensure that fraudulent activity doesn't go unnoticed. While some of the most popular websites, such as Amazon, for example, are relatively safe, thieves can still find their way into consumer's bank accounts.
La Crosse Governmental Employee Credit Union president Travis Carley says, "As you get more and more transactions, all the hacking people, the fraudsters, the scammers, the skimmers, it is their chance to hide themselves within more transactions."
There are ways to stay safe, though, and remaining vigilant is key. Carley suggests that using a credit card is better than a debit card because the latter are directly tied to checking accounts. If a thief accesses this, money can be stolen in the blink of an eye. It is a good idea to use familiar websites instead of those you have not used before.
Take note of information requests - trustworthy websites will not ask for details such as your Social Security number or your mother's maiden name. Finally, many banks offer an alert system so that account holders are notified about payments over $100. This is a good option if you'll be doing some of your gift shopping online. If you would like to prevent identity theft, check out our credit monitoring service.
If you want more credit, check out MoneyTips' list of credit card offers.