Federal authorities are taking credit card and other fraud so seriously this holiday season, they rolled out their top man to warn local shoppers.
As throngs of people head to the malls and big box stores for Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, Special Agent In-Charge Randy Thysse said there are three specific things you can do to protect yourself. Number one, do not let a clerk or worker leave your sight with your card. Agent Thysse said, "That reduces your chances of being skimmed. The bad guys are going to take your card. They'll swipe it once legitimately to make the transaction go through but often they have a pocket skimmer where they can run it through to get that information off your magnetic strip. "
Number two, try to avoid using a debit card in which you have to punch in a pin number. Agent Thysse says this will lower your risk of somebody seeing your personal number.
Number three, use a credit card with a chip instead of one you have to swipe. There is an algorithm, embedded in the card with a chip, that makes it very difficult to reproduce or steal the electronic information.
If you are shopping on line, cyber thieves are lurking. Agent Thysse says there is one thing you should never do. If you receive e-mails that say follow this link to receive 30 or 40 % off, and it looks like it's from your favorite store, it might not be. He noted, "It can send you to a different site. Then when you get to that site you think you are at the major retailer but you are not. You put in your credit card information and you become a victim. " Instead, type in the retailer's website in your web browser, cut out the middle man.
The bottom line is, the season of giving is a playground for takers.