Tips to protect your account from hackers this holiday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO): ‘Tis the season of Holiday shopping and for many of us, shopping online is just so much easier than running to the store. For hackers who are ready to play the Grinch, ‘tis the season to steal Christmas.

The season of giving is wonderful, but you don’t want to give hackers information that can lead to headaches and empty wallets. There are three things you can do to help protect yourself and your family from these online thieves.  

The department of Consumer affairs says never use your debit card when shopping online. Credit cards actually protect the consumer more than a debit card.

“Debit cards are an immediate access to your bank account, your actual checking account vs. a credit card. So if you’re buying things with your debit card online and someone happens to get that number, they can swipe all your hard earned cash from your checking account. With a credit card, while they may get that information and spend money off that card, you have more protections off a credit card than you do a debit card,” Bailey Parker said, with S.C. Dept. of Consumer Affairs. 

Even better, Parker says to buy a gift cards to the online store you want to buy from and use those instead.

“That way, if you are shopping and someone happens to get into your account. Guess what? Your debit card and credit card information isn’t there, and that gift card is already used and that was just straight cash basically and you don’t have to worry about your information being stolen,” Parker said.

Consumer affairs also warns to never save those credit card numbers, addresses, or even passwords to your browsers.

“Yes it’s extremely convenient, but if you save that information, what it’s allowing a hacker to access is if a hacker gets into your gmail account, then the hacker has access to all your credit card information, debit card information, even your home address, things like that,” Parker said. 

They say you should look at your bank statements weekly to ensure all the purchases showing up are actually yours.

“Go to your credit card company and say I don’t recognize that purchase. And you can actually fight that purchase. It’s much easier to do than on your debit card where the money just came directly out of your account,” Parker said.

If you have any questions or think you might be a victim of identity theft, the department of consumer affairs urges you to visit their website. Click here for the link. 


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