The holiday shopping season is in full swing! Are you ready? Do you still have lots of shopping to do? Have you already shopped on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or all three? Chances are that many of us still have plenty of shopping left to do before Christmas and that will be inter-mingled with work and family gatherings as well as travel both short and long trips.
In the middle of all of this activity, it’s very important to keep track of your holiday spending habits especially when shopping online and travelling over the holidays. Doing so will help protect your money and reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions occurring.
Following these guidelines can make your holiday shopping and travel more financially secure:
- Use a low limit credit card for online shopping. Your liability is $50 on fraudulent charges using your credit card.
- Know who you’re shopping with. Be leery of unknown or obscure shopping websites. Stick with well-known shopping sites from reputable retailers.
- If it’s too good to be true…it probably is. Don’t fall for incredibly cheap or free deals commonly seen on Facebook.
- Look for the padlock and https on your Internet browser window. Secure online shopping sites should use the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology for securing online transactions. You should see a padlock icon at the bottom or top of the browser status bars that you are using and https in the address bar.
- Make sure that computers and smart phones used for online shopping are patched with the most up to date software.
- Try not to conduct online shopping on public WiFi networks.
- Use anti-virus / anti-malware software on your PC and smart phones and make sure they are updated. This can help prevent a virus infection if you happen to end up on a bogus shopping site.
- Make sure you use online banking to check your shopping activity and don’t wait for a mailed statement to arrive to verify online shopping activity. By the way, have you signed up for MutualBank’s online banking? Learn how to get started.
- Use your statements, MutualMobile or MutualBank’s Personal Online Banking to review transactions…are you signed up for eStatements yet? Get your statements quicker via email!
- View your cleared checks to make sure they were not altered in any way to change the payees or dollar amounts.
- If you swipe your card, check the card reader especially on gas pumps, ATMs, and other self-service payment terminals for card skimming devices…see ABC News “Credit Card Skimming Tips To Protect Yourself” for more information. It is simple…just lightly tug on the card reader to ensure that it’s secure before swiping your card. A card skimming device will easily pull off as it’s usually taped or lightly glued on top of the existing card reader. If the reader pulls off do not use the machine and report it immediately to authorities.
- Travelling over the holidays and planning on using your MutualBank debit card? Make sure you Call Before You Travel to ensure uninterrupted debit card use!
Remember that you are the best defense against online shopping fraud! If you suspect that you have been scammed please call MutualBank Customer Support at 800-382-8031. Also please report any online fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Have a safe and happy holiday season from MutualBank, helping you live a better life!
This post is written by John Mickle, Risk Management and Compliance at MutualBank