Better Business Bureau Urges Consumers to Scrutinize Their Credit Card Bills After The Holiday Rush

December 20, 2012

, During the busy holiday season it is tempting to skim through your credit card statement instead of checking it thoroughly. The Better Business Bureau(BBB) 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 fraudulent charges.

Under Federal law, shoppers can dispute the charges on their credit cards if they do not receive the 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 card holder pays nothing if someone steals the credit card number and uses it.

Scammers and hackers do not take a break during the holiday season,It is important to keep track of accounts especially if there are more transactions than normal. That is when fraudulent ones may slip through.

The BBB recommends these tips 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 the shopper 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 personal information be protected? – When shopping online, read the website’s privacy policy to understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used.  If there isn’t one posted, consider that a warning that your personal information may be sold to others.

Will your online purchase be secure?  - Look in the address box for the “s” in https:// and in the lower-right corner for the “lock” 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 the “buyer” into revealing financial information. If a consumer receives such an e-mail, BBB recommends picking up the phone after verifying the genuine number and calling the contact number on the website where the purchase was made to confirm that 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