Credit card fraud and identity theft are exploding as thieves prey on consumers’ COVID-19 pandemic spending habits and desire for contactless shopping. With the holidays approaching, you need to be extra vigilant.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, credit card fraud has been one of the fastest-growing forms of identity theft. Reports of credit card fraud have jumped by 104% from last year, and that number continues to grow.

In fact, the opening of new credit card accounts was the most reported credit card fraud last year with an 88% increase in cases reported from the previous year, according to IAPP.

Disputing Fraudulent Holiday Credit Card Charges

With credit card fraud on the rise, it’s important to know what steps to take if you believe you have become a fraud victim.

If your credit card number has been exposed and you notice unauthorized charges, immediately report it to the business where the charge occurred as well as to your bank.

Your credit card issuer can cancel your current credit card and send out a new card with a new number. Your credit card issuer also can investigate the disputed charges.

Make sure to check all of your accounts to see if other accounts may have been compromised. Also, it’s important to reset PINs and banking passwords.

Monitoring your identity and credit for suspicious activity is important as well. Staying on top of your credit report and scores can help alert you to fraudulent activity or inaccurate information.

Place a credit freeze on your credit report. This blocks credit companies and other lenders from viewing your credit report. If a criminal tries to open up a new line of credit in your name, the credit issuer won’t be able to see your credit file and can reject the loan or credit line.