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The Greensboro Police Department is warning residents about the dangers ofCREDIT CARD FRAUD and ways to avoid becoming a victim.
Cyber Monday is just the start of a surge inONLINE SHOPPING across the country, which means more opportunities for identity thieves to take advantage of shoppers.
Greensboro police say they’ve seen 473 cases ofCREDIT CARD FRAUD in 2015. Police could not say how many of those originated online, but they say it’s important to be very careful when shopping on the internet.
According to NASDAQ, nearly 32 million Americans had theirCREDIT CARDSbreached in 2014. Forty-five percent of those breaches happened online.
Officer E.Y. Watkins, with the Greensboro Police Department, says the key to protecting yourself is to pay attention.
“There’s a lot of deals to be had, but you don’t want to be the person that’s being had,” Watkins said. “So, check and make sure that that website you’re going to is a legitimate website, make sure that if they’re asking you questions that are making you feel uncomfortable, like your socialSECURITY number — when you’re making a purchase — that’s something they probably shouldn’t be asking for.”
Here are some other online shopping tips from the Greensboro Police Department:
- Shop trusted names. Stick with the familiar retailers and more common internet sites. Beware of misspellings or domain names using “.net” instead of “.com” as that is one of the most common ways scammers trick consumers.
- Make sure the website isSECURE. Look for signs/ logos that the website protects your data. A secure website starts with “https://” instead of “http://.” Secure sites will also have a small lock icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.
- Evaluate and research the company before making a purchase on the internet. Look for a website’s customer rating. Check posts previous customers have written on the company’s website, blog, or customer feedback page.
- Maintain your privacy. No store needs your socialSECURITY number or your birthday. Always give up the least amount of personal information possible. Don’t store information on the server of the site. Instead, enter the information each time.
- Use filters that warn you of suspicious or fraudulent websites/ web pages.
- Create a strong password that makes it harder to be hacked or high jacked by online predators.
- Choose to use a credit card vs. debit card.CREDIT CARDS OFFER protection from identity theft that debit cards don’t offer. · Keep good records. Print a copy of your order confirmation, save email receipts, and write down any pertinent information in case it’s needed at a later time.
- Don’t shop on public computers. They can put your information at risk because you cannot control who will or has used thatCOMPUTER.
- Check statements forCREDIT AND DEBIT CARDS as well as checking accounts regularly. If you see any charges you don’t recognize, address the matter immediately. Don’t pay credit card bills until you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems. After that, you might be liable for the charges.
If you become a victim, police say you should report the crime to them, and contact your bank orCREDIT CARD COMPANY immediately.