Avoid Scams This Holiday and Protect Your Credit Scores

December 22, 2011

protecting credit scoresDuring the holidays, people rush to the mall in hopes of checking every item off their shopping lists. Unfortunately, more shoppers in stores create more distractions. And more distractions lead to better opportunities for thieves to make off with your hard earned cash. While having money stolen from you is certainly a terrible feeling, the aftereffects could be worse.

In “Are You Giving More Holiday Cheer Than Intended?,” the credit experts at FreeScore outline a popular holiday scam that buyers need to be aware of during the holidays.

The article looks at a memo sent out by the Northern Illinois Home Builders Association that tells the story of people who were scammed by unscrupulous cashiers. According to the memo, the scam targets customers who pay with debit cards. When you swipe your card, the cashier selects the cash back option for a certain amount, even though the option was never presented to you. If you’re not paying attention, you pay a little extra for your purchases and the money is taken without your consent. If you do happen to catch the mistake, the error can simply be blamed on a faulty electronic pad.

It’s easy to see how people could fall victim to this scam. In a rush to move from store to store, some people don’t pay attention to electronic pads or receipts. Other times, the purchase is so large that an extra $20 or $40 goes unnoticed.

Regardless of how the theft occurs, it could have serious consequences beyond a lighter bank account. Many people tie credit card payments and other bills to their checking accounts. What if the stolen money causes you to miss a credit card payment? Having just one missed payment on your credit reports could negatively affect your credit scores, making it harder to apply for a mortgage or auto loan.

So pay attention to your receipts this holiday season and be on the lookout for scammers and shady cashiers. And if you want the peace of mind that comes with an extra layer of protection, FreeScore can help. The Power of 3 includes your three credit scores and reports (updated monthly), as well as 24/7 anti-fraud protection through credit monitoring and alerts. If a thief steals your identity, FreeScore will provide access to licensed investigators who will take you through the steps of restoring your good name.

Categories: Economy

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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