If you’re like me, you use your debit or credit card often. It’s very convenient to hand the cashier or salesperson your card and the transaction is complete. You don’t have to hunt for a pen and take the time to write a check. But as with all new technology we need to take safety precautions to ensure that our information is protected and secure. Card safety is essential all the time. You can protect yourself with these 12 card safety tips and don’t forget to share them with your friends and family.

  • Limit the cards you carry. Carry only the credit/debit cards that you plan to use when shopping.
  • Keep your eye on your card. When making a purchase, keep your card in view at all times, and retrieve it as soon as the transaction is complete.
  • Reputable retailers. Shop online through reputable retailers and those with stringent security practices. Look for the MasterCard Secure CodeTM and Verified by Visa logos.
  • Receipts. Always take card receipts with you, and discard them using a home cross-cut shredder.
  • Phone safety. Don’t give your card information over a wireless phone. Also, don’t give your account information over the phone unless you initiated the call.
  • Watch for wondering eyes. When using ATMs, watch out for anyone who might be looking over your shoulder. Use your free hand to shield the keypad from view.
  • Monthly statements. Review your credit card and bank statement thoroughly the day you receive it. Report anything unusual, or any transactions you don’t recognize, immediately.
  • Mailing options. Put a hold on your mail when you’re out of town.
  • Store unused cards in a secure locked place.
  • Public safety. Never lend your card to anyone, and don’t leave your cards or receipts out in public or anywhere an unauthorized person can access them.
  • Charge slips. Draw a line through blank spaces on charge slips above the total to prevent any unauthorized changes.
  • Keep a record book. Make a list of card numbers, expiration dates, and toll-free numbers for each of your cards. Keep this record in a safe place, separate from where you keep your cards. So you can use this information if you ever have to report your cards are lost or stolen.

Remember to be cautious with your cards. It’s not just a piece of plastic it is your access to your account information and details. Studies show that card fraud increases significantly during the holidays; when we are rushed to complete those last few items on our to-do list. So, remember to slow down and follow these easy steps to keep your information protected and secured – it is worth your time.