Between spending quality time with loved ones and taking part in the many festivities of the season, the holidays are already such a busy time — so the last thing you’d want is having to deal with fraud or identity theft on top of it all.
Whether you’re treating yourself to some too-good-to-pass-up Black Friday deals or checking friends and family off your gift list, keep the following fraud prevention tips in mind so your holiday shopping remains merry and bright.
Keep track of your purchases
You know how it goes — everyone on your gift list wants something from a different store.
With all of these different charges on your card, it’s essential to keep track of your purchases so you can spot any fraudulent ones that might hit your account.
So save those receipts, hang on to those order confirmation emails, and check your transaction history regularly.
Bonus points if you sign up for email or text alerts to help you spot fraudulent charges instantly!
And if you do happen to notice a suspicious charge on your account, contact us right away.
Be wary of text message and email sales
Just as scammers so often create fraudulent texts and emails posing as your bank, they can just as easily create texts and emails posing as your favorite store with the most amazing sales.
This holiday season, take extra caution before clicking links in texts and emails that promote great deals — especially if the discounts seem too good to be true.
Something as simple as double-checking the sender and hovering over links before clicking can help you protect your secure information.
And when in doubt, just navigate to the store’s official website to do your shopping instead.
Shop only on secure websites
These days, cyber deals are usually just as good as, if not better than, the holiday deals you can find in-store.
But with all of this online shopping, you run the risk of giving your personal or financial information to scammers and cybercriminals who’ve created fake websites.
Before doing any shopping on a website, double check to make sure it’s a secure site.
You can look at the URL to confirm that it has an “https” address, and you can check the front of the address bar for the little padlock icon that indicates your connection to a website is secure.
If these identifiers are not present, do yourself a favor and leave the website immediately.
Never make purchases over public WiFi
Whether you’re hopping online in airports and hotels between holiday travel or just logging into the Target WiFi to use the latest Circle offers, be careful with what you do on public networks.
Information shared on public WiFi can potentially be accessed by someone else.
That means that if you provide your card information to make a purchase, there’s a chance it could fall into the wrong hands.
If for some reason you have to make a purchase while on the go, do so using a data connection or a private hotspot network.
Be cautious of fake charities
Giving to others is one of the most important — and most rewarding — facets of the holiday season.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there willing to take advantage of others’ generosity for their own selfish gain.
Watch out for fake charities on platforms like GoFundMe. And, again, beware of unsecure websites that might have been spoofed or created by fraudsters.
To verify if a charity is real, search it on give.org — the website for the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance.
Charity scams often use fake names that sound like real charities, so it’s important to do your research before giving to any charity.
More tips for fraud prevention
We have plenty of other resources for year-round fraud prevention at the links below:
- Fraud and identity theft prevention
- Securing your financial information
- 4 common types of business fraud to watch out for — and how to prevent them
Now that you know how to protect yourself from fraud, we hope you have a safe, joyous, and prosperous holiday season.
And if you have further questions about protecting your financial information, do not hesitate to reach out to us!