Schemes and Rip Offs: The Best Way to Pay - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schemes and Rip Offs: The Best Way to Pay

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Even after a record Black Friday weekend there's still plenty of money to be spent this holiday season and plenty of ways for criminals to try and steal it.

So as we start checking things off our Christmas lists it's important to remember what you use to pay can make a big difference.

We talked with Todd Davis CEO of "Lifelock" about the 3 most popular ways to pay and here's how he ranked them from best to worst.

While not as convenient, Davis says a gift card is the safest option.  You control how much is on it so if something does happen crooks can't get access to your whole bank account or credit line.

Next best, a credit card.  If you keep a close watch on your statements and notice a fraudulent charge the company must give your money back while they investigate and the most you have to cover from a stolen card is 50 bucks.

That leaves the debit card, which Davis told us could be the most dangerous thing in your wallet this time of year.

"If they get their hands on your debit card information they can pull those funds out.  You're out all that money and when you go challenge that it was fraud, no one's giving your money back in the meantime. That money is missing."

Another problem when using a debit card; online orders that show up damaged, broken, or don't show up at all.

Like fraud if you paid with a credit card you can dispute the charge and stop payment.

If you used the debit the merchant has your money already and you might have to fight to get it back.

Davis said you might consider canceling your debit card during this time of year or at the very least only use it if you absolutely have too.

For a more complete breakdown of the pros and cons of debit, credit and gift cards, plus a look at cash, checks and money orders.  Check out this fact sheet from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

You can also check out the Better Business Bureau's Consumer Blog for tips to keep your holiday season scam free.

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