Tis the season… for fraud. While you’re busy making holiday preparations here, there, and everywhere, fraudsters are working to take your money. Even if you are checking your account, smaller transactions can slip thru the cracks.
Here are a few fraud tips to help you make it through the holiday season safely.
Monitor your accounts. While you should always monitor your account balance(s) on a regular basis, it’s especially important to check them during the holidays. Make sure all transactions listed were made by you or any authorized users on your account. Debit card alerts offer real-time email or text alerts, you can easily monitor your checking account activities and help stop the possible fraudulent use of your debit card. These customizable alerts let you monitor your checking activities and it’s free of charge.
Be wary of advertisements. You may be tempted to click on social media ads on Instagram or Facebook, but you should do so sparingly. Ads boasting limited time offers or large discounts may not always be from a reliable site. Before clicking on any ad — whether it’s via your smartphone or laptop — you should verify the source. Double check the URL to make sure the spelling is correct, that the URL begins with “https” and there’s a small lock icon that confirms it’s a secure site.
Secure your information. If you do some online shopping from your phone while you’re out in public, make sure you don’t leave any personal information easily visible, since someone can easily look over your shoulder and steal your information. You should try to complete purchases in secure areas, such as your car, rather than an open coffee shop, for example. Obscure your credit card/debit card number with your hand or use your digital wallet, such as Apple Pay.
Watch out for spam phone calls. There’s also an uptick in spam calls this time of year, with fraudsters trying to get unwarranted personal information for you. If you get a call from someone who says they’re from your credit union, and it feels suspicious, hang up and call us directly. Your credit union will never ask you for your password. Criminals know people are worried about fraud during the holidays and may take this opportunity to try to get you to divulge information.
Be careful at points of sale. Thieves can attach skimming devices to card readers to capture your card information. Be especially careful when you’re at a gas pump or outdoor ATM. Also be on guard against shoulder surfing: Thieves may be watching you enter your PIN at the ATM or sales counter.
Being mindful of security is a good idea any time of the year. By maintaining basic cybersecurity, being wary of social scams, choosing and using the most secure payment cards, and monitoring your credit and identity, you can go a long way toward keeping ID theft at bay—during the holidays and throughout the year.