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Holiday shopping season is here and the excitement is understandable. However, in the spirit of giving, credit card protection techniques can make sure you're truly giving — and someone else isn't taking from you in the process. Fraud protection is of the utmost importance, especially this time of year. These strategies can keep your bank accounts and credit history safe, while you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Enable Account Activity Alerts

First things first, log in to all of your credit card and bank accounts and turn on activity alerts. You can set thresholds of, say, $50 or $75 to ensure you won't get a notice when you're just buying your morning latte. By activating these alerts, you'll get a text or email when a purchase is made in your account over a certain dollar threshold. This will let you potentially spot an unauthorized purchase and immediately contact your card or bank if something looks fishy. This is a savvy, year-round credit card protection technique that also applies to your bank debit cards.

Practice Secure Online Shopping

In a world gone mobile, it's now easier than ever to shop anywhere. It's convenient, but it's also one of the least secure ways to complete your holiday shopping if you're not aware of your network settings and ways to pay. That might sound like a lot, but here are two simple ways to make your mobile and on-the-go laptop/tablet shopping a secure experience.

First, don't enter your credit/debit card or bank account information when connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Fraudsters love to troll public Wi-Fi networks and scrape card data. If your phone has a personal Wi-Fi hot spot built in, switch from the public Wi-Fi to your phone's hot spot to complete an on-the-go-purchase for added security.

Secondly, connect your debit and credit cards to a mobile wallet like Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay. These mobile wallets obscure your card information, making it harder for fraudsters to take off with your card data. With added layers of protection like biometric (thumbprint) authentication to complete a purchase, mobile wallets can keep your shopping easy while making data theft harder on hackers. A growing number of mobile shopping websites are equipped to accept payment via mobile wallets.

Review Your Credit Card and Bank Statements

It's easy to take for granted that only the things you bought will be on the month-end statement, right? Reviewing your monthly statements is a smart step for constant credit card protection. Occasionally, a transaction is so small that it can go undetected with your fraud settings. Maybe a restaurant charged you twice or there was a glitch on a website where you made a purchase. A quick scan of your monthly statements can go miles towards disputing and correcting unauthorized purchases.

Now, go forth and fulfill wishes as you shop your way through the season. With these tips, you'll be on your way to a more secure, year-round shopping experience no matter where, and how, you want to make a purchase.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

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