Time to go shopping...is your credit safe?

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It's the holiday season again, and many of us are busy shopping for those perfect holiday gifts for our family and friends. It seems like we are constantly pulling out those credit and debit cards, whether it's at a store or shopping online from the comfort of our homes. All of this extra use of credit and debit cards gives us extra exposure to the possibility of fraud. When credit card statements and withdrawals from our bank accounts are more frequent than usual, it can be tough to keep an eye on transactions, but with all the extra usage, it's more important than ever. 

What are some of the signs that you could already be a victim of fraud? Here are a few things to watch out for:

- A creditor informs you of an application for credit in your name and Social Security number that you never made, or that you’ve been approved or denied credit for which you never applied.

- You receive statements or bills for any type of credit, utility or other accounts in your name and address for which you never applied.

- Unfamiliar charges on account statements, including your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgage, calling card, utilities, other established credit or billing account statements.

- Your bank sends you an automatic insufficient funds notice or an overdraft funds transfer notice when you should have sufficient funds in your account for all debits, checks and payments you’ve made.

- An automatic credit report alert or your regular annual check of your credit reports informs you of recent negative changes in your credit report, unfamiliar account or unexpected credit activity.


Remember, you don’t have to wait for your monthly statements to come in the mail. You can check your financial account statements more often online or via automated phone customer services. With a little extra vigilance this holiday season, we can all help to prevent becoming the next victim of identify theft or stolen credit. This is especially important if you are in the market for a home and will be applying for a mortgage in the new year. It can take time to correct mistakes if your credit is damaged, and ultimately could affect your ability to be attain that all important pre-approval from a lender in order to make an offer on a home.

Stay safe out there....and HAPPY SHOPPING!