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Financial
Dec 1, 2021

When Holiday Shopping with Credit Cards - Pick the Right Plastic

Sponsored Content provided by Rosalie Calarco - Associate State Director, Coastal Region, AARP

If you heed only one tip this holiday shopping season, make it this one: pick the right plastic. A recent AARP survey found that nearly 70% of people shopping online this holiday season plan to pay with a debit card. Choosing this form of payment can make you more vulnerable to fraud losses.
 
Debit cards deduct money directly from the account it’s connected to. If your card is compromised and the thief goes on a spending spree, the money drained from your account is YOUR money. When you use a credit card and it’s compromised, the thief isn’t spending money from your account but rather from the credit your bank has provided.
 
Both cards are governed by consumer protections – but there’s a ‘but’. When your credit card is used fraudulently, the issuing credit company will absorb the losses from the shopping spree the thief enjoys. Your costs may be limited to $50, but most issuers waive that.
 
When your debit card is compromised, your money is gone until you report it and the bank completes an investigation, which could take several weeks.  If you’re relying on that account to pay your rent or mortgage, that delay can put you in a real bind. And if you fail to report the fraud within 60 days, you may not have any recourse to recover your losses at all.  In other words, it’s usually harder to get your money back from the scammer with a debit account.
 
When shopping online this holiday season do yourself, and your bank account, a favor and leave the debit card in your wallet.
Be a fraud fighter!  If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.
 
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for all. Learn how to proactively spot scams or get guidance if you’ve been targeted at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.


Rosalie L. Calarco, a 17-year veteran of constituent services and advocacy under two federal officeholders, is the State Director for its Coastal Region, where she will work with AARP members in diverse populations across age, gender, socioeconomic status, culture, and ethnicity. Her service area will include 33 coastal and other counties in northeastern, eastern, and southeastern North Carolina.
Since 2004, Calarco has served in various roles of constituent services for federal elected officials from North Carolina. As Director of Veterans Services for former U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre, she represented veterans and other constituents in interactions with the Veterans Administration, Medicare, and the Social Security Administration, and she developed national and local grant applications to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on behalf of local municipalities in McIntyre’s district. Most recently, as Senior Constituent Advocate and Office Manager for U.S. Senator Richard Burr, Calarco provided similar services to constituents across North Carolina, while also managing casework for Burr’s appointments to Senate committees and subcommittees overseeing Education, Banking and Mortgage, Housing, Medicare, the Military, the U.S. Department of State, Tricare, and Veterans Affairs. Prior to these appointments, Calarco earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W), and the University of Georgia at Athens. She began a career in social work and has maintained professional ties while rising to hold multiple offices in the North Carolina chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Since 2005, she has served intermittently as Field Supervisor for the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work programs at UNC-W.

 

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