Be proactive to prevent card-related fraud.
The 2015 holiday shopping season is already underway. With millions of Americans expected to put their cards to use this holiday season, fraudsters will be on the lookout for opportunities to take advantage.
According to ShopperTrack, in 2014, Black Friday shoppers spent about $9 billion in stores, and the majority of transactions were with debit and credit cards. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and is the kickoff date for many holiday shoppers. It means that card usage is much higher than usual. This is viewed as an easy opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of a large pool of consumers. Through data hacks stealing card information from large retailers, to criminals stealing individual card information through online scams, it’s important to be proactive about preventing card-related fraud.
The following 5 tips are from Jennifer Kerry, Vice President of Credit Card Services for CO-OP Financial Services, a financial technology provider to credit unions.
1. Ensure you’re using a secure internet connection
Secure communications between you and your web server help prevent cyberattacks, especially when using untrusted networks at public places. Before entering credit card information online, check that the URL begins with https:// and an icon of a lock appears to the left of the web address. This signifies a secure network connection. Additionally type in a trusted URL for a company’s website into the address bar of your browser and bypass the link in what could be a phishing message or unsecure site.
2. Use a variety of difficult passwords
With the seemingly endless number of sites requiring a password, using a password manager like 1Password is an easy way to regain your sanity and security. By randomly generating unique passwords for each website, you reduce the risk of one stolen password compromising security in other areas of your life.
3. Monitor card use
Monitor transactions and report any suspected fraud right away. Download a mobile app, like CardNav by CO-OP, which allows consumers to set controls for card usage, receive real-time alerts when unapproved transactions occur and even temporarily disable their own cards.
4. Keep your personal information safe
Do not provide personal or financial information to unsolicited requests for information. Remember that reputable companies let you come to them rather than approaching you to gather information or take action. Additionally, don’t open messages from unknown senders.
5. Protect your hardware
Update your operating system regularly and make sure you have the best security software products installed on all your devices. Experts in the industry suggest using antivirus protection and a firewall.