The holidays are officially here and with that comes a lot of spending. Whether it’s on dinners, parties, or presents, we find ourselves spending more money in November and December than any other time of the year. Unfortunately, because of this, fraud and identity theft become a bigger threat. If you’re not careful, you could fall victim to some of these serious crimes which could put a real damper on your holidays. We put together some helpful tips on how you can shop more secure this holiday season.
Cash or credit is better than debit
We may find ourselves using our debit card for most purchases, but during the holidays, it might be safer to use credit, or better yet cash. Credit comes with added security measures to help protect against fraud making it more reliable than debit. If using your credit card, simply pay the purchases off with funds from your checking account after you are finished shopping. Cash of course is your safest option; just be careful of how much you carry at a time. If you choose the cash option, avoid using outdoor ATMs and be very cautious of your surroundings at all time.
Online shopping can be easier, but use caution
When you shop online, you don’t have to worry about direct theft of your belongings, but your personal information and credit card numbers are vulnerable to viruses from fake websites you may encounter. When shopping online, always make sure you’re using a legitimate website from retailers you know. Shopping from vendors such as eBay and Craigslist can also result in very risky transactions. If you are shopping at an online retailer, be sure to check the URL for a green security lock and “https” at the beginning of the web address for authenticity.
Shared networks might not be secure
If you’re out shopping and decide to take a break for lunch or coffee, resist using that free WIFI access so many businesses offer. These WIFI access points can be compromised and just by accessing them can open your computer or mobile device to potential scams or fraudsters. Its best to stick to your basic cellular network when outside of your home’s trusted network. If you do use a shared WIFI, never access your bank account or enter your credit card information to make purchases while connected.
Is that ad too good to be true?
This time of the year our inboxes will be flooded with Black Friday and holiday sales. Many of which advertise amazing deals, and for the most part are legitimate. Although you’ll find great sales, you are opening yourself to potential fraud if you click on any links from untrusted or unknown sources. Reputable businesses can sometimes be copied into a fake email to trick their victim into clicking a malicious link that could cause you to get viruses. The best practice is to never click a link from an email. Rather type the web address of the business you received the email from and access any sales or discounts directly through their official website.
Security tools are your best options to secure shopping
Although fraud can never be 100% prevented, you can give yourself a better chance by protecting yourself with financial security tools such as CardNav. With CardNav you can get real-time transaction updates directly to your phone giving you a heads up of potential fraud. CardNav also gives you access to turn your card on or off as well as restrictions of transaction types, amounts and activity radius from your phone. All of these features can go a long way to keeping you financially secure this holiday season. Download today for free for your Apple or Android devices.
This holiday we want you to be safe and enjoy the holidays without the stress of fraud. Astera offers services such as Kasasa Protect and CardNav help you shop secure and give you an added layer of security over your finances. Call us today at 800.323.0048 or stop into a branch to speak with a member service representative. To learn more about our security services as well as stay up-to-date on current scams going around, visit our security center page.