Busy sidewalks, crowded stores and inboxes stuffed with great deals. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is about to begin. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all. But in this season of holiday cheer, it’s important to remember that it’s also the most wonderful time of the year — for fraudsters. Here are some things you can do to prevent holiday shopping fraud from dashing your good spirits.
Crowded stores and malls make you an easy target for thieves. Use caution when setting down personal items to try on clothing or when paying for goods at the checkout.
Keep wallets and phones in your front pockets, and purses strapped across your body in front of you, instead of over your shoulder to your side. When you’re on a mission to find something, there’s sometimes a tendency to become so focused that you lose track of what’s happening around you. Thieves are focused too: on you. Make a habit of noting your surroundings.
Online fraudsters prey on those who are too distracted by great deals to pay attention to online security details. If you’re thinking of making a purchase from an online merchant you’ve never heard of before, take a few minutes to research their reputation online. Search for reviews or complaints and see how the company responds to comments on their Facebook page.
Use Secure Sites
Before entering your card information to make an online purchase, make sure the page you’re submitting your order through is secure. Secured web addresses will begin with “HTTPS” rather than “HTTP,” and will often have an icon that looks like a padlock near the address bar. Never submit financial information while connected to a public Wi-Fi service.
Beware of Phishing
Be on the lookout when it comes to deals and offers coming to your inbox. Always exercise caution, even with emails that appear to be from legitimate senders. Typos and misspelled words are common signs that an email could be a scam. Be cautious clicking on links or attachments that look suspicious; doing so may expose your computer or device to malware, which could be used to steal or “phish” for information, such as usernames, passwords and card information. For additional information go to https://www.53.com/mkg/security/phishing/index.html
Secure Your Info
The holiday season is a good time to revisit the security pins and passwords, not only for your financial accounts, but also any account or profile page containing your card or banking information. Stay away from simple passwords that hackers could easily figure out, such as ones that use your name or a number sequence. Use a combination of numbers, symbols and uppercase and lowercase letters. Fifth Third’s recently updated security platform allows you to create more complex passwords. Be sure to log into 53.com to update yours today.
Some sites may offer the ability to set up a two-step authentication process, which helps to confirm your identity when visiting from an unrecognized device or when attempting to recover lost usernames and passwords. You should use this feature where available. Keep your desktop and mobile devices updated with the most current software and security updates. And finally, take advantage of setting up mobile alerts that will notify you of transactions and suspicious activities.