- Be wary of contests: Many online contests promising large prizes could be scams such as sources of computer viruses that will try to hijack your information.
- Change your passwords: Have you had the same password for the last five years? It’s time to change it up. Create a password that is long and complicated, and doesn’t reference any of your personal information like your birthday. Stay away from using coherent phrases by breaking up words with exclamation points and other symbols, and of course, don’t use the typical “password” or “1111.” It’s also crucial that you use a different password for each account. If you need help with this, try using a password vault instead of trying to memorize them all yourself.
- Check websites: Make sure that the websites you’re using are secure. To lessen your chances of becoming a victim of credit card theft, only enter your credit card information on sites with URLs beginning with “https.” The “s” in the address stands for “secure,” and lets you know that your connection to the site is less likely to be overseen by hackers. This is especially important whenever you are entering sensitive information, such as credit card or Social Security numbers.
- Check your credit report: As the end of the year approaches, take a look at your credit report to check for inaccuracies as well as monitor your credit score. Every person can receive one free report from each of the three credit bureaus.
- Cover up: Shield your debit or credit card and PIN number from view when making transactions so that thieves can’t steal your numbers by looking over your shoulder.
- Don’t trust public WiFi: It’s tempting to do your online shopping at Starbucks, but you shouldn’t trust public WiFi networks to protect your identity.
- Email with care: Don’t submit personal information via email, even if it’s for a reputable organization.
- Only use one credit card: Shopping online is a very efficient way to get every item on your list checked off, but consider ways you can practice internet safety. For instance, designate one credit card for online shopping purposes, instead of using multiple ones across different sites.
- Take it with you: Identity theft doesn’t only happen over the internet. The police also advise against leaving items in the car as you go shopping. If someone breaks into your vehicle, they could steal something that reveals your identity and puts your information at risk.
- Update your software: Download the latest antivirus and security software on your computer, to make sure your system is up-to-date and prepared to detect attempted invasions.
- Review your bank statement regularly: Reconcile all banking transactions and immediately report any suspicious transactions to the bank.
- Review your receipts: Review your receipts for purchases made to ensure you are only charged for what you actually bought at the store or online.
- Always contact the bank if you need assistance with your account: Farmers Bank consumer cardholders are not liable for any unauthorized charges reported in a timely manner.
- Don’t use public WiFi: Try to avoid public WiFi networks when you’re taking advantage of all the great holiday sales available online
. Public WiFi is wonderful for looking up general information, but if you’re accessing your bank account or entering sensitive information like a debit or credit card number or password, then it’s much safer to do so over a private connection.
- Follow these rules on your mobile device, too: Many people aren’t waiting to start their holiday shopping on Black Friday anymore. In fact, consumers have started to use “Mobile Thursday” as a jumping off point, when they online shop over their mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day. Just make sure to follow the same security guidelines you do on a desktop computer, and squeeze in some time for food and family.
- Ignore links: Don’t click on popup ads or spammy emails that promise amazing deals. Clicking on one of these suspect sites could compromise your security and personal information. Simply click the “x” button that’s usually on a top corner of the screen, or delete the email without opening it.
- Look for secure URLs: If a URL address begins with “https,” then it is likely to be more secure than a site that starts with simply an “http.” The “s” stands for “secure,” and is a good sign to look out for.
- Search for URL changes: Also keep an eye on the URL when you first enter a site. If the URL changes when you enter the payment screen, then you might want to double check that you’re using a reliable source. Cyber-criminals sometimes establish fraudulent sites to solicit personal information from customers.
- Shop on known websites: Only enter your card and personal information on websites that are established, well-reputed and that you’ve used before. If you have any doubts about a site’s integrity, then it’s probably better not to take the risk.
- Talk to your kids: If you have kids who are old enough to shop online, make sure to have a conversation with them about web safety. Let them know what information is sensitive and can be used to commit identity theft. Teach them safe habits like checking their bank account statement frequently.
- Update anti-virus software: Before you start your online shopping spree, it’s a good idea to update your anti-virus software.
- Use cash or a credit card: When holiday shopping, it’s best to use either cash or a credit card instead of a debit card. This is because it’s much easier to recoup losses if fraud is committed on your credit card.
Enjoy the holiday season and amazing sales, and stay safe and secure while doing so!
We have some awesome fans! Thanks for helping us Grow.
For an opportunity to win a ticket to the Smithfield Wine and Brew, scroll down, submit your name and email, and put “I WANT TICKETS” in the comment box!
OUR PROMISE: We will not spam you, or use your information for promotional reasons.