Debit, credit, or cash? The safest way to protect your information this shopping season

While you're shopping for family and friends this holiday season, thieves are shopping for your money.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Black Friday officially kicks off the holiday shopping season. Just as stores boost their security and websites secure their pages, thieves are discovering new ways to steal your identity. While you’re shopping for family and friends this holiday season, thieves are shopping for your money.

“Especially with the skimming devices being so common now, you want to avoid using your debit card. I would suggest you pay cash or use a major credit card and then pay the bills,” said Milagros Johnson of the Springfield Mayor’s Office of Consumer Information. If you do use a debit card, Johnson advises using a Visa or Mastercard debit. Just like a credit card, you’ll get your money back if a thief tries to steal it.

However, that money won’t return to your debit card account until after the bank investigates a fraud claim. That could mean checks and automatic payments will bounce. Credit card companies, however, will put your credit back while they’re investigating.

While cash may be the safest option in protecting your identity, many people told 22News it’s simply not as convenient and they’d still rather use credit or debit. “I lose cash so I keep a decent record of what I use of my card in the bank so I got worried that people would take your information off so I bury it in more layers and watch my bank account,” said Carissa Walters of Springfield.

Johnson recommends closely watching your bank account and reporting any fraud immediately. Limit the number of credit cards you carry with you and use, and make sure to withdraw money from a familiar ATM.

NBC is reporting the latest series of skimming machines are at the gas pump. As customers fill up their cars, thieves are siphoning their information.

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