Dealing with fraudulent accounts is a hassle, but the sooner you report discrepancies to the credit bureaus, the easier it'll be to repair the damage.10. 'Tis the season for deals, including cheap gift cards.
Blowing off a message from your credit-card company.
Although you might not be in the mood for what you assume is a telemarketing call, a creditor may be ringing to warn you about odd account activity.
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If you receive a message like that, don't click links or fill out online forms.
Instead, "call the number on the back of your credit card or bank statement and ask if they're trying to reach you," says Ulzheimer.
If you don't respond, your creditor may freeze the account, and your card will be denied on the next attempted purchase.
If your account isn't frozen, and your card number is indeed stolen, the thief has more time to charge away.5. How can you be sure you're giving your info to a legit online store?
When possible, such as at a retail counter or a small eatery, keep a close watch while the clerk/waiter is in your line of vision.
On a related note, don't leave your card sitting on store counters while you're waiting to sign the receipt.
If you suspect you've fallen for a phishing scam, "place a fraud alert with one of the major credit reporting agencies (they're supposed to notify the other two), and ask your bank and credit card companies to add an extra layer of security, such as password protection, for any use of your accounts," says Mitch Lipka, consumer advocate and columnist for .