Tips to Avoid Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

Posted by Terrabank on Dec 22, 2020 11:00:51 AM


Credit card fraud can happen to anyone at any time, but this is especially true during the holidays.  We spoke with Rey Ramos, Terrabank’s Digital Channel Supervisor, who gave us some tips on how to help prevent becoming a victim of credit card fraud.


What is a common scenario for credit card fraud during the holidays?

With the holiday season just around the corner — and COVID-19 changing just about every facet of life — holiday scams, credit card fraud, and shady retail practices pose a greater threat than ever. But there are ways to steer clear of seasonal scams to experience safer holiday shopping.

This time of year also encourages an activity known as “phishing” — when a cybercriminal impersonates a company or someone you know to trick you into providing sensitive information or accessing your computer. This scam usually comes in the form of an official-looking email.


How can I avoid becoming a victim of credit card fraud?

  • Be aware of your surroundings in a store.
  • Use caution when texting to receive coupons.
  • Do not send secure information over “free Wi-Fi” connections.
  • Only shop online with retailers you trust.
  • Monitor your credit card account statements daily.
  • Do not leave cards out where they can be seen.

How can I protect myself from credit card skimming or any other attempt to steal my credit card number?

  • Keep your credit cards safe.
  • Differentiate passwords for each site used.
  • Update antivirus software to protect against the latest bugs and malware. Even if updates are automatic, it does not hurt to make sure everything is current and doing its job.
  • Regularly check account statements for anything that looks suspicious.
  • If an email seems suspicious, do not click on any of the links provided. If the company is familiar to you, go directly to its website to see if the offer is legitimate.
  • Shred anything with your credit card number on it.
  • Do not sign blank credit card receipts.
  • Avoid giving out your credit card information.
  • Report a lost or stolen credit card immediately.
  • Check gas station pumps and ATMs for credit card skimmers.


How does Terrabank’s credit card protect me from fraud?

Terrabank takes the protection of personal information very seriously. We value your trust, and we understand that handling your financial information with care is one of our most important responsibilities. Our policies, procedures and protections are always evolving to stay ahead of new strategies used by fraudsters.

Confidentiality and the security of our clients personal and financial information are the highest priorities at Terrabank. We have multiple layers of security protection in place to protect clients. We have a sustainable cybersecurity program built on accountability, consistency and measurement.

In addition, we have a strict code of ethics for all employees that requires confidential treatment of client information. Only those who need to know a client's financial information — because they provide services a client might need — are authorized to have access to it. All Terrabank employees must complete information protection training annually. Terrabank also maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect against unauthorized access to client information.

If we believe an account is at risk for fraud, we will attempt to make contact using the information shared with us, so that information must be current. If we do contact you, please review and respond promptly.

Terrabank will never ask you to reply to an email with any personal information such as your Social Security number, ATM number or PIN.

Together, we can help prevent, identify and resolve fraud events faster.


What are some ways I can protect my credit card when I use it online?

When shopping online, be sure to purchase only from reputable, secure sites. You will know a site is secured if its URL begins with "https" (the "s" is crucial) or displays a little padlock symbol next to the URL. That means it has a valid SSL certificate and is secure. Otherwise, any personal info you provide is at risk of being stolen.

The same is true when making purchases over public Wi-Fi, such as in coffee shops, parks, libraries, or hotels. Unless you're protected with a virtual private network (VPN), your account information is visible to any and all prying digital eyes.

When visiting an unfamiliar online merchant, a quick search of reviews at sites like can help you decide who is trustworthy. You can also confirm the types of permissions the store's mobile app requires when you install it. If the app demands unnecessary access to personal contacts or device storage, there might be cause for suspicion.


If I am planning on traveling, should I contact my credit card company?

Yes, please let us know your travel itinerary in advance.


Any other tips I should be using to protect myself year-round? 

One of the easiest and most effective ways you can protect your accounts is by taking advantage of the resources we provide on our site –

For example, our Online Banking for Credit Cards.

Always approach unsolicited emails containing urgent appeals for security or personal information with great caution. Be sure to confirm the validity of email messages that appear to come from trusted sources by carefully examining the email address itself, as well as the content within it.

Other measures you can take include:

  • Create complex passwords and PINs not easily associated with you.
  • Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts.
  • Question suspicious emails and never click on any link unless you are certain it is authentic.
  • Review and respond to alerts promptly.
  • Keep your contact information up to date, especially your cell phone number and email address.  


About Terrabank

Terrabank, N.A. is a federally insured national banking institution established in 1985 to provide financial services to South Florida's business community, the small-business owner and the professional. Our staff of seasoned banking professionals take great pride in Terrabank’s entrepreneurial spirit and we are committed to understanding our customers, their businesses and our City to ensure that we are providing the support they need to grow their businesses and achieve their goals.

We understand small businesses because we are a small business. Unlike the larger regional and national banks, we know we must work harder and smarter in order to succeed and that means always looking to provide our customers with the support and services they need, how they need them and when they need them.

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