December 15, 2023 – As we gear up for the holiday season, be aware that scammers are also stepping up their game. With more people shopping for the perfect gifts, it's prime time for fraudsters to strike. In fact, Visa's data showed an 11% increase in fraud rates during the 2022 holiday season.
Here are some essential tips to help you spot scams and shop safely — not just during the holiday season, but all year round:
- Stick to trusted and secure websites. Check for "https" in the URL and a padlock symbol in the browser bar. These signs mean the website is secure and your data is protected.
- If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often bait victims with unreal deals.
- Use secure and protected payment methods. Cards often offer better fraud protection than other methods. Be careful with direct money transfers, wire transfers, and peer-to-peer mobile apps as they are often targeted by scammers.
- Be careful with emails and messages. Phishing scams are common during the holiday season. Don't click on links in unsolicited emails or messages. Always verify with the sender through their customer service or mobile app before giving any personal info.
- Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements. Check your statements regularly for any unauthorized transactions and set up transaction alerts. If you spot anything fishy, report it right away.
- Protect your personal information. Don't give out personal info unless it's necessary. With scammers using AI to mimic voices, be careful of any requests for personal info – even if the message claims to be from a friend or family member.
- Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured and can be a target for hackers. It's safer to shop from a secure home network or use a VPN.
Our commitment to fraud prevention
Visa has invested over $10 billion (USD) in technology over the past five years globally to counter fraud and enhance network security. With a dedicated team of specialists, we have been proactive in thwarting malware, zero-day attacks, and insider threats, helping to prevent $30 billion in fraud in the first half of 2023 alone, illustrating our continuous efforts to protect consumers.
The holiday season brings joy and excitement, but it's important to stay alert and informed. By following these tips and leveraging Visa’s robust security measures, consumers can enjoy a safer shopping experience. Remember, vigilance and smart practices are your best defense against fraud.