3 Tips to Prevent Holiday Fraud
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has arrived and the fraudsters are counting on our busyness to play into to their scamming, hacking and stealing. These easy tips will help keep the bad guys at bay for an enjoyable holiday season.
1. Only shop online from reputable and secure websites and avoid shopping on public wi-fi.
Shopping from the couch is one of the great modern day conveniences. No crowds to fight or traffic to transform you into the Grinch. Still, online debit card fraud is one of the most prevalent types of fraud out there. Chip car readers have reduced fraud at brick and mortar stores so more fraudsters are taking their schemes online.
Reputable online retailers will have an encrypted site to ensure your payment information is secure. Look for the “https” (or padlock symbol on mobile) prior to the web address. This indicates an encrypted/secure site and limits your exposure to online fraud. Avoid shopping using public Wi-Fi as it is easier for hackers to gain access to public networks.
2. Respond to suspicious debit card alerts immediately and utilize fraud monitoring apps.
Banks and credit card companies monitor debit and credit cards for unusual spending activity. Alerts are often sent via text, email or phone call. Review and respond to these alerts as soon as possible to stop any potential fraud.
Take advantage of fraud monitoring or prevention apps your bank offers. The Friendship State Bank offers FSB Verify via the APP STORE and GOOGLE PLAY. Receive and respond to alerts directly through the app. You can also turn off your debit card if it is lost, stolen or may have been compromised.
3. Monitor your accounts often and sign up for e-statements.
Reviewing your monthly bank statements is great, but reviewing your accounts online weekly is better. This will alert you to unauthorized activity, stop a fraudster from continued activity and help you resolve unauthorized activity before your monthly statement is even issued.
Signing up for e-statements also limits access mail thieves may have to your financial information. They are especially interested in your mail this time of the year. E-statements are available through banks’ and credit card companies’ encrypted websites. If you prefer a paper copy for your records, you can still print e-statements from your home.
- Never let a salesperson take your debit card out of site. It only takes a few seconds to snap a photo of your card number and CVV code to clone your card for online use.
- Only take the cards, cash and identification you need with you when shopping. Leave additional information you usually carry at home to limit exposure to potential fraud.
- Don’t respond to emails or phone calls requesting personal financial information. Retailers (and banks) will not contact you to verify debit card or account information by email or phone.
- Verify charities. People taking advantage of your goodwill is enough to turn you into Scrooge. Don't let that stop you from spreading holiday cheer, but do take time to ensure you are giving to a legitimate charity who will use your donation the way you want.
May these tips allow the only surprises this season to be wrapped under the tree. Happy Holidays!