Business

Credit card fraud jumps at holidays, so watch accounts carefully

Posted December 30, 2011

— Fraudulent credit card charges are more common at holiday time, so North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper advises that consumers monitor their accounts and read statements carefully.

"People are very busy at the holiday season, there's a lot of information flying around, and so people are more vulnerable to these thieves who seem to come out this time of year to take advantage of the situation," Cooper said.

Thieves have a number of methods to obtain credit card numbers from unsuspecting consumers – from online scams to camera phones at the grocery store.

Cooper suggested checking bank and credit accounts online frequently and notifying companies right away if something looks wrong.

"The good thing about credit cards is you aren't liable for most of the (fraudulent) charges," Cooper said. "The real danger is if someone takes out a credit card in your name and you don't know about it."

Attorney General Roy Cooper AG: Beware credit card fraud at the holidays

Identity theft also tends to jump around Christmas and New Year's, but putting security freezes on accounts at all three credit bureaus can help prevent it, he said.

It's also a good idea to take advantage of free credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion all consumers are eligible to obtain once each year, Cooper said. Reports can be ordered at AnnualCreditReport.com.

Steve Kefalas learned these lessons the hard way. A thief stole his credit card number for a $2,500 shopping spree.

"What they usually do is they'll buy stuff online so they don't get caught," Kefalas said. "It's easier for a thief to just do it online and ship it somewhere else than to go into a store and do it."

Kefalas wasn't liable for the charges, he said. Neither was Al DiLorenzo, whose credit card number was stolen for the second time last month.

The experience has taught him to be more careful and keep a close eye on his accounts.

"You just can't take it for granted. It's a faceless enemy," he said. "They're out there, and they'll pick your pockets."

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  • uGek010 Dec 30, 2011

    ha! paypal saved me from potentially getting hundreds of dollars of unauthorized charges...on Christmas eve someone gained access to my iTunes account, which was linked to my paypal...fortunately because paypal sends you email receipts as soon as I got the first one from iTunes and Paypal, I logged on reported it to paypal and changed my iTunes personal info, password and payment information.

    The interesting thing is that as I was doing that on iTunes and went back to paypal to complete my report online, the perp had already made a second charge! Anyhow that's when I realized I had to call paypal to freeze my paypal account and stopped any other potential unauthorized charges. Still waiting for paypal to credit my account...the good thing is that its only $30.00 altogether that I can potentialy loose.

  • Mustange Dec 30, 2011

    Get a paypal account for online purchases NEVER use credit cards online.

  • mickeyabdallah Dec 30, 2011

    Hi my name is mickey and i work at a at&t store this coment im about to leave is more info on whats going on usaly you may wanna watch out for credit card swiping on machine's this is a big trick to most people swiping their card for food shopping or any other activity's meaning make sure the black box your swiping is not moveable attached theyr can take your info from the black strip also watch out for usb being pluged in to your computer this is another reasson info will be stolin in other case its not your credit card being swiped its your account number being swiped on to the layer of the black strip of the card watch out for retailer's and im not saying cell phone store's becuase every swipe has to have their names on the action of swiping but bigger and larger company's with alot of employe's as if it was hard to track back who did what but always if you feel their being tonight and asking how would you like to pay do credit becuase credit wont alow them to access you account ri