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The Resource Center Credit Fraud & Credit Monitoring | article

Leave Your Credit Card at Home on Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican celebration of the Battle of Puebla, when the country's army had an unlikely victory over the French, which helped clear the way for democracy to spread throughout the region. A common misconception is that this holiday is Mexico's Independence Day, which actually takes place in September, but stateside, many of the festivities aren't dissimilar to the kind that take place on the Fourth of July.

Although this isn't actually an official holiday in the United States, Americans seem to embrace the fifth of May along with their neighbors living south of the border. The day usually includes lots of Mexican food, music and, most importantly for some, alcohol. Whenever cervezas and rowdy crowds meet, there is a heightened potential for disaster, including in the form of identity theft.

After all, this is one of the biggest drinking days of the year
If you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your friends or family, you likely have your sights set on a bar or restaurant that is holding some kind of party in honor of the holiday. Big drinking events like these tend to get rowdy, which can be extremely disorienting for individuals who have had one-too-many. In these situations, unsavory characters may try to take advantage of those who are impaired because of alcohol consumption and maybe even steal their belongings, like a wallet.

Spending a little cash is better than compromising your identity
When you go out on Cinco de Mayo, carry cash with you so that if your wallet does get either misplaced or stolen, the person who retrieves it won't have access to your credit or debit account. While you may still experience a monetary loss, at least a thief won't have access to your accounts and therefore won't ultimately be able to affect your credit score.

Opening a tab isn't always easier
Avoid opening up a tab at the bar by handing over your credit or debit card. If the bartender gets confused, which is likely on such a busy holiday, they may accidentally hand your card over to someone else, or an identity thief might claim to be you in order to walk out with your card. By paying cash for each drink, you can make sure not only that there is no confusion with your bill, but also that your card won't be out of your possession.

Before you go out for the holiday, look into enrolling in an identity monitoring program so that if your card does get stolen, you'll be alerted to certain activity in your accounts. This way, you can take the proper steps to protect your credit before further damage is done.