Nothing will ruin your holiday spirits faster than debit card or credit card fraud. Unfortunately, all financial institutions are reporting historic rates of card fraud. Take time to review our 7 tips for a merry season of celebration without thieving.
- Monitor Your Accounts in Real Time
- Take full advantage of security tools offered by your financial institution.
- Heritage Bank customers can sign up for SecureAlerts through online banking, allowing them to customize account activity to monitor how alerts are delivered – by text, email or secure inbox within their online banking portal.
- Don’t Wait to Report Suspicious Activity
- Don’t wait to report suspicious activity on your card or accounts.
- Heritage Bank mobile app users can monitor their debit card transactions in real time and report suspicious activity to the bank with just a few taps.
- With Card Guard, they can also turn off their debit cards when traveling or if they suspect fraudulent activity.
- Choose financial institutions with 24-hour customer service so you can report suspicious activity and so their fraud monitors can contact you when they detect suspicious charges.
- Strengthen Your Passwords
Tis’ the season for strong passwords to all your online accounts. By now, you know better than to use your pet’s name or your birthday as a password. You should also resist recycling passwords across several accounts.
The most secure passwords feature a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid any references to personal information such as your spouse’s name or your nickname from high school. Remember how much a savvy hacker can gleam from publicly available information or your social media accounts. If you haven’t changed your passwords to your bank accounts and credit card accounts for several months (or years!), consider updating your passwords before starting your holiday shopping.
- Does Your Bank & Credit Card Company Have Your Most Up-To-Date Contact Information?
Have you changed your mobile phone number recently? Still have a land line? Has the number changed in the last year? Using a different email address or have you linked a different email address to your mobile devices than the one you’ve shared with your financial institutions?
It’s critical that the financial institutions you entrust with your bank accounts, debit cards and credit cards have your most up-to-date contact information. Whenever your phone numbers, email addresses or home address changes, make updating your contact information with your bank and credit card company a priority. Heritage Bank customers can update their contact information through their digital banking accounts or contact any branch during business hours.
- Exercise Caution About Public WiFi
With so much to do during the holidays, we’re all looking for ways to multi-task and often turn to online options. But before you use the WiFi at your local coffee shop to finish your holiday shopping, remember cyberthieves hang out around locations offering public WiFi looking for opportunities to hack your card accounts or bank accounts.
- Get Comfortable with Contactless Payment
Contactless pay or mobile pay is a safer alternative to using your card in person. All transactions are encrypted so merchants never have access to your real card number. It’s also harder for cyberthieves to hack your accounts.
Increasingly, brick and mortar businesses offer contactless pay, allowing you to use mobile pay. Once your debit and credit cards are set up in your Apple Pay or Google Pay, it’s simple and safe to use mobile pay or contactless pay to make online purchases.
- Opt Into Paperless Statements
One of the most common ways criminals commit identify theft is to steal paper statements out of unlocked mailboxes. Paperless statements for bank accounts and credit card accounts are more secure as well as more convenient. Heritage Bank customers can sign up for eStatements (for deposit accounts and loan statements) in just three minutes. It’s also a simple process to sign up for eStatements with our credit card provider. Another advantage of eStatements is that they are available at around the same time each month, without delay. Statements sent via the U.S. Postal Service may arrive at inconsistent times each month
Although a monthly review of your accounts is generally sufficient at other times of the year, you might want to go online to monitor activity every week or more frequently to detect fraud early.