The Holidays Are In Full Force…

The stockings are being filled with plump goodies, the holiday beef is in repose currently awaiting its fated call to the fiery furnace, and your ever-loving family members are making their way cross-country to your cozy abode.

But, something’s missing…

You enter the great room to find your lush spruce tree, so perfectly adorned with holiday decorations, completely vacant at skirt-level.

dog-903991_1920Where are the gifts?

You’ve nearly ruined the annual family gathering. Again! (At least this time you chose beef and not turkey like last year… why you chose turkey that close to Thanksgiving you’ll never know.)

You sprint to the holiday calendar hanging on a nearby wall, only to find December’s exuberant puppy-of-the-month bounding across a snowy hillside staring right back at you — his jolly disposition not consoling you one bit … well, maybe just a tiny bit.

Your eyes darting across the seemingly endless array of polygon tiles to find today’s date. Wait, what’s today’s date again??

You scramble across the kitchen and snag your super-duper-really-smart phone — it can keep track of the date, and we trust it to do just that (plus it also turns into a flashlight, which is too cool).

Home Button. Swipe across the screen. Enter your 4-digit password.. 1-2-3-4 — Not that password… 1-3-7-9 — Not that one either…. 1-1-1-1 — You’re about to be locked out….. Ok. Calm down. Wait, locked out already? Who set up these security settings?? And how is it not 1-2-3-4!?

Last attempt before entire breakdown of sanity — Bingo! You’re in (your own phone. finally).

The calendar’s display: 17th of December.

Relief rolls across your manic visage like a bouncing tumbleweed in the Sonoran Desert. Sweet tranquility.

Then it hits you… online stores are out of the question, shipping simply takes too long. So, that means you’ll have to settle for yet another arduous journey to the mall this weekend.

And it just so happens that the Saturday before Christmas (so eloquently dubbed Super Saturday) is the second busiest shopping day of the year — following only Black Friday, of course. The procrastinator in you is secretly loving every second of this.

You make the faintest of audible sounds: “uh-oh.”

What’s Next?

Now, while we can’t necessarily help you cope with the mental suffering and anguish that you may endure during your Super Saturday travails, we can help alleviate one aspect of your journey…

Protecting the personal information that you’re about to furnish the 17-year old cashier with.

 

Here are our top 3 ways to shop safely this Super Saturday:

1. Use Your New EMV-Microchip

All credit card providers have been required to send their customers newly-equipped EMV-chipped credit cards.

The microchip installed inside of your new credit card makes for a new process when paying for your purchases, but a process that’s proven to be more successful in terms of account and information security.

When you use your new credit card, you won’t go about purchasing your items by sliding the card using the magnetic card reader, instead you’ll need to insert the chip side of the card into the reader itself. This helps scramble your data via cryptographic algorithms that take place while the card is inserted.

If the store you’re purchasing from has not yet upgraded to EMV-card readers — or if you haven’t yet received your new EMV-chip card — use cash to make your purchases.

2. Monitor Your Bank Statements

Monitoring your bank statements will be critical once you’ve finished all of your holiday shopping.

Data breaches continually pop up around the globe, whether you’ve heard about them or not, which means that wherever you shop, you need to constantly check your own personal accounts.

If you happened to come across fraudulent purchases or suspicious activity on your account, notify your bank and the credit card provider immediately to eliminate the chance of any future damage, and to get reimbursed for the lost amount.

3. Shop With Cash /or  One Card

The last tip to remember: use only one credit card for all of your holiday shopping. This will make for a much easier process when it comes to (step 2) monitoring your credit card statements and notifying and/or cancelling your credit card, if necessary.

It’s also wise to make your holiday purchases with cash because it doesn’t leave an information trail behind.

The holidays are the most vulnerable times for both customers and retailers because of the hectic nature, as well as the sheer number of purchases being made each day. Paying for even a few of your items with cash will significantly reduce your chances of being affected by any data breaches or fraudulent activity.