Protect yourself before you wreck yourself: How to prevent online shopping and credit card fraud. #Holiday2016

Holiday entertaining may be over but the real work now begins:  Hitha Herzog is dead serious about preventing online credit card fraud. 

Holiday entertaining may be over but the real work now begins:  Hitha Herzog is dead serious about preventing online credit card fraud. 

Holiday spending is about to wrap up and the National Retail Federation is expecting retail sales expected to reach $655.8B (source: NRF). With people in a mad dash to return items and take advantage of end-of-year sales, now is the time to be hyper-vigalent about protecting your credit cards from fraudulent activity. Last thing you want to do is end the year on the phone with VISA because your card is getting declined at a bar. Check it: 

1) online credit card fraud

Here's a BIG number: $4 billion. That’s how much online credit card fraud will cost retailer up from $3.2 billion in 2015. That figure to jump to $7.2 billion in 2020. According to a report by Javelin Research, more than 7.5% of online merchants’ revenue is eaten up by the cost of actual fraud and costs associated with fraud-prevention tools. This kind a blows for online merchants because they are on the hook to pay the cost of bogus transactions, yet they also are under pressure to deliver products to customers quickly.

Here is how to protect yourself:

  • Use alternate mobile payment systems
  • Keeping your operating system, browser andanti-virus software up-to-date
  • Installing a personal firewall on your desk top
  • Using strong passwords and changing them regularly
  • NEVER giving your credit card number to a site without SSL protection (that's a badge you will see when you check out). 

 2) Off line credit card fraud aka, checkout counter fraud:

You know on that off chance you decide to actually go into a mall, store or drive thru and purchase something IRL? Using your pin to protect your bank information on your credit card isn't exactly the most secure. These days retailers have a new system where you have to dip your card instead of swipe which created a one time key that can’t be duplicated. Retailers are not responsible for fraudulent charges- the banks are, but that is why they implemented these new credit card systems when you pay.

Here's how to (further) protect yourself:

  • Choose a Card with Fraud Protection
  • Select a credit card that offers fraud protection without additional fees. (If you are interested in a list, send me an email or write a message in the comments section. Will do a separate post about this).

3) Social media posts fraud/people who ask for your credit card information

Ugh. This type of fraud is the bane of my existance. Counterfeiters and scammer create fake social media pages and advertisements to promote counterfeit goods, or WORSE they send you fake emails telling you it’s your bank and they need your information. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS

Why it matters:

Links may send you to a fraudulent website that sells counterfeit goods, such as cheap sunglasses or trashy handbags. The website may install malicious software on your computer, such as keyloggers or ransomware, and help a scammer steal your personal information.

Here's how to protect yourself:

  • Avoid giving out your credit card information:
  • Only give out your credit card number or other sensitive information on calls you initiate to customer service using the number on the back of your credit card.
  • Don't return calls to a phone number left on your answering machine or sent to you in an email.
  • Don't give your credit card number to anyone who calls you requesting the number.
  • Avoid the temptation to like and share outrageous offers, such as free trips, big discounts, or valuable coupons.

4) Fake retail sites that take your order but never ship it or WORSE send you something that is FAKE:

Fun fact: I am that consumer who is loves looking for hard to get presents, rare books/t-shirts/records. I've seen my share of sites that look surprisingly legit, but are based out of China, Eastern Europe or Africa. They have few reviews, possible misspelling of words/unusual language. DO NOT SHOP FROM THESE SITES. 

Here's how to protect yourself: 

  • Avoid placing orders on sites that are not well-established and that you are not familiar with. Be SUPER cautious of overseas vendors, which can largely get away with charging you for something they don't intend to deliver or will deliver you the wrong item. 
  • Only shop at sites that you know and trust. 

I go over these tips on my recent segment on Fox and Friends December 9th. Check it out and send me your questions! 

Chief Research Officer and Retail Analyst Hitha Herzog talks with Fox and Friends about how to shop safely online.