Carefully Review December Statements and Quickly Report any Problems
During the busy holiday season it is tempting to skim through your credit card statement instead of checking it thoroughly. Better Business Bureau reminds consumers that it is extremely important to be vigilant during this time of increased spending and to check your statements carefully and look for mistakes or fraudulent charges.
Under Federal law, consumers can dispute the charges on their credit cards if they do not receive ordered items. Shoppers also have dispute rights if there are unauthorized charges on their credit cards, and many card issuers have "zero liability" policies under which the cardholder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it.
“Holiday season purchases can involve a great deal of credit card use,” according to Connecticut Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti. “Because we tend to make more transactions than usual, fraudulent charges can slip through if we’re not vigilant.”
BBB offers the following advice to prevent unauthorized credit card charges:
Keep documentation of your order - After completing the online order process, there may be a final confirmation page or you might receive confirmation by e-mail. Save a copy of the webpage and any e-mails for future reference as well as any receipts obtained from brick and mortar stores.
Will your online purchase be secure? - Look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for a padlock symbol before paying. Don’t be fooled by spoofed sites that feature convincing security measures. If you have doubts about a site, right-click anywhere on the page and select “Properties.” This will let you see the real URL (website address) and the dialog box will reveal if the site is “not encrypted.”
Beware of phishing – Legitimate businesses do not send e-mails claiming problems with an order or an account to lure buyers into revealing financial information. If you receive such an e-mail, BBB recommends picking up the phone after verifying the number provided is genuine and calling the contact number on the Web site where the purchase was made to confirm whether there really is a problem with the transaction.
Watch out for skimming - A dishonest employee at the point of purchase could scan the card on an authorized machine before returning the card. The card number could then be used by the employee and/or sold to someone else.
For more information on protecting your identity or credit card usage, visit www.ct.bbb.org.
-Submitted by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director Connecticut Better Business Bureau