By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the holiday shopping season already underway, you may be using your credit and debit cards more often, and that could be a problem because credit card fraud is up.

The good news is, there are ways to protect yourself.

“Anytime credit card volume goes up dramatically, you’re going to have more fraud,” says Joe Smith, of Dollar Bank.

With usage skyrocketing this week, credit and debit plastic are carrying the purchasing load.

But the more you use it, the more access you give those who want to rip you off. So, item one is always knowing where your card is.

The folks at Dollar Bank say your first line of defense is keeping a close eye on your account online.

Besides getting the numbers from your statement when it comes in the mail, thieves are resourceful.

“If you lose sight of your card and give it to someone, they could be getting your number and using it fictitiously,” says Smith.

Simply by writing down your number, expiration date and the security code on the back, the charging spree is on.

And unless you initiate the contact, Smith says: “Don’t give any information ever online or over the phone.”

For example, a $1,000 shopping spree text message is hitting phones all over. But Target says it’s a scam.

“Where they’re asking you for any information, stop, don’t do it; ‘cause, you know, once that information is gone, it’s gone,” says Smith.

More Consumer News