6 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud on Black Friday

Cyber Monday is sobering for many Americans. It’s not just because they realize how much they spent over the past 3 days.  On the Monday after Black Friday, many discover that their credit card accounts have been used fraudulently. Debit and credit cards are skimmed before the heavy shopping weekend.  Thieves “skim” or steal the encoded information on a debit or credit card’s magnetic strip and use hidden cameras to capture the pin or zip code.  On Black Friday, they use the information on counterfeit cards in offline transactions where the card is present.  On Cyber Monday, they use the information in online transactions without presenting the card.

It’s The Most Fraudulent Time of the Year

Although credit card fraud happens every day, fraud increases on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. ACI Worldwide, a provider of electronic payment solutions, expects the volume of fraud attempts to be 1.3% of total sales on Black Friday in 2018.  Successful fraud attempts dropped in 2017, due to commonly used technologies like Europay-Mastercard-Visa (“EMV“) chips.  According to VISA, EMV chips helped reduce counterfeit fraud by 58 percent by March, 2017, over the previous year. But credit card skimming is on the rise, especially at gas pumps which still require the magnetic strip.

6 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud on Black Friday

Here are 6 ways to prevent credit card fraud on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and every other day):

  1. Enable credit card alerts that detect fraud
    • Yes, it’s after the fact, but it can prevent additional losses.
  2. Go inside to avoid skimmers
    • Get cash from ATMs inside banks.
    • Pay for gas inside.
  3. Use digital wallets like Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal
  4. Use the retailer’s app for digital payments
    • Mobile order-ahead apps are popular for quick service restaurants like Dunkin’ Donuts and Chick-fil-A.
  5. Use the card provider’s mobile app to stop or allow transactions on your card (aka “freeze” and “on/off switch”)
    • Not the same as freezing your credit to prevent new accounts.
    • Be careful not to freeze accounts used for automatic bill payments.
    • American Express, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover and USAA offer this free service on credit cards.
    • Barclays is expected to offer it on credit cards in 2018.
    • Bank of America, Citi, USAA and Wells Fargo offer it on debit cards.
    • Chase and US Bank don’t offer it on debit or credit cards.
    • Some banks provide additional controls on transactions (e.g. nothing after 10pm, no transactions in another state) via CardValet® mobile app or service.
    • Some credit unions provide additional controls on transactions via the CardNav app.
  6. Use tools to check if your account is available to hackers
    • Experian’s Dark Web Triple Scan (one-time scan for SSN, email and phone number – credit card searches and monitoring require a monthly fee)

Which ways do you use to prevent credit card fraud?  Let us know!

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