Over the years, shopping online for the holidays has become increasingly popular for consumers. However, sharing information over the internet has its potential consequences, as instances of fraud and identity theft have risen accordingly as well.
At HIG, we want to ensure that your holiday season is enjoyed with as little stress as possible. Whether you are purchasing gift cards online or shipping gifts right to your door, be sure to follow these important precautions to protect your finances this season:
Only buy from trusted sources. Gift card resale markets offer gift cards for less than the face value of the card, but not all of them guarantee the stated value. To avoid this potential issue, it’s best to purchase the gift card in-store.
Watch for signs of tampering. In the past, thieves could walk into stores and write down the numbers of the gift cards on display. Retailers have prevented against this by placing their cards in a plastic casing. Look for signs of tampering prior to purchasing. If a card is not in a casing, make sure the PIN has not been scratched off.
Register your gift card. Some retailers allow gift card holders to register their gift cards and protect the balance in case the card is ever lost or stolen. Not all merchants have this option, but if yours does, it’s a good idea to register the card just in case.
Making Purchases with Your Credit Card
Avoid giving your account number to anyone on the phone unless you’ve made the call to a company you know to be reputable. If you’ve never done business with them before, conduct an online search first for reviews or complaints.
Save your receipts so that you can later compare them with your statement.
Open your bills promptly or check them online often and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made.
Report any questionable charges to the card issuer.
Only order on secure web sites – To ensure your information is protected, look for an unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of your web browser.
Although fraud isn’t entirely preventable, we at HIG want our policyholders to be as informed as possible in order to avoid fraud this holiday season. However, if any suspicious activity does occur, be sure to contact your provider immediately. From all of us at HIG, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!