Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Twelve Holiday Fraud Prevention Tips for Credit Union Members

By Robert Jarosinski

The holiday season brings family time, delicious food and good cheer. Unfortunately, it also brings fraud. 

Fraudsters fill with glee between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve as unsuspecting members let down their guard when holiday shopping. And, what’s on every fraudster’s holiday shopping list? Data.

So, how can credit union members protect themselves during the holiday season? Use these tips:

1. Think before you click on suspicious emails, online ads, deals and even apps. Suspicious emails and online offers may introduce malware once clicked. In addition, some fraudulent offers request sensitive information, which can be used to compromise accounts.

2. Keep an eye on your accounts.  Review checking, savings and credit card accounts daily and report any unusual activity.

3. Create complex, unique passwords for sites that store your sensitive information. Since it might be difficult keeping track of all the passwords, password management services can be a great option.

4. Use payment methods that offer tokenization. Many mobile wallets offer mobile, online and in-person settings that include tokenization.

5. Sign up for transaction alerts if offered. Or, at the very least, monitor statements closely for suspicious activity and report it immediately to your credit union.

6. Ensure home computers, laptops and tablets are protected with antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall.

7. Close/exit out of shopping sites or turn off your computer, tablet or mobile device, once you’ve completed your purchase.

8. Be on the lookout for ATM tampering, skimmers or anything suspicious. Also, be sure to survey the ATM surroundings for safety.

9. Key an eye on your wallet and/or purse while shopping. It may seem obvious, but distracted shoppers make easy targets for thefts. 

10. Shop online with trustworthy merchants who require security information such as address verification and the CVV2/CVC2 number on the back of your card.

11. Always access authorized websites – such as your credit union’s or an online merchant’s – by typing the website into the address bar of the web browser. This will help you avoid “spoofed” websites attempting to steal your information.

12. Remember: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Cybercriminals are adept at mimicking legitimate content, so err on the side of caution if you are asked to hand over your information.

Looking for more ways to ensure you have the best holiday season? Check out these six hacks for a healthier holiday season.