Tips To Keep Your Accounts & Finances Safe This Holiday Season (2021)
The Holiday Season is approaching which (unfortunately) means it’s also fraud season. Data from years past show that fraud attempts have increased by 22% between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Eve. The highest days for fraud are Thanksgiving Day, the cutoff day for Express Shipping, and Christmas Eve.
Look below for a few tips bound to help keep you and your finances safe this holiday season.
Santa’s Savvy Shopping Tips
- Always shop on trusted and secure websites only. Just look for the https:// in the URL when you are doing your online shopping.
- If the deal is too good to be true… it probably is! This goes for many things including secret shopper deals, purchases/sales on eBay/Craigslist, or even job listings on these sites. Products sold on social media websites are also a common spot for too good to be true deals. Many times, when you purchase from these unknown sites there is a chance you won’t necessarily get what you paid for. As always, do a little research before your purchase, read customer reviews, and check the Better Business Bureau.
- Free Trial offers are not truly free: The fine print that we all ignore but must acknowledge to reading is essentially a contract. By accepting those terms and conditions, you enroll in a subscription with the merchant. You may only pay shipping and handling for the product the first time, but if you do not cancel within the time frame given, you will be billed and shipped more products.
- Beware of Porch Pirates! Especially during the holidays, criminals are on the lookout for packages left in front doors/porches. Subscribe to delivery alerts. Most major delivery services offer a notification service for package updates. You can also request to have your packages delivered elsewhere, such as your place of employment, an Amazon delivery site, P.O. box, or Fed-Ex/UPS location. It’s well worth the minor inconvenience to ensure your packages are safe.
Stay One Step Ahead Of Fa-La-La-La Fraud
- Make it a routine to check and monitor balances on your accounts and debit cards/credit cards. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the sooner our Member Service Team can assist you. Be sure to enroll in online banking, eStatements, and download our mobile app.
- Always make sure your contact information is up to date with your financial institution. This is especially important when it comes to suspicious account activity or scams targeting membership, To update your contact information log into your online banking profile and navigate over to settings or contact our Member Service Team directly at 303-340-3343. Available Monday – Friday (8:00 am – 6:00 pm) and Saturday (9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
- Take the time to enroll in text alert programs and/or helpful apps like the Fitzsimons CU CardManager app, which gives you the ability to control your cards on the go. The Fitzsimons CU CardManager app also allows you to turn your cards on and off to prevent fraud, check balances, and set geographic, merchant-specific, or spending limits.
- Beware of any suspicious calls or text messages requesting user ID login, your SSN, your card number or any other confidential account information. Fitzsimons Credit Union and our vendors will never request this information from you. Additionally, we will not ask that you send money to any unknown individuals.
- Keep your personal information safe by enrolling in identity theft protection. Fitzsimons offers Kasasa Protect, which members can enroll in for as low as $8. This service offers around-the-clock monitoring for fraudulent activity, including information on the dark web. If fraud does occur, you will be alerted right away and will have personal assistance for the restoration process.
- Stay up to date on trending scams by signing up for Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission.
- Be suspicious of of unsolicited emails from Amazon. In this latest trending scam, an email claiming to be from “Amazon” informs you that there’s been an unauthorized purchase from your account — prompting you to call a fake Amazon “customer support” number where fake “tech support” representatives then attempt to hijack your devices and steal your personal information. If you see a suspicious email send it to the Amazon fraud prevention team at email@example.com
Beware Of Holiday Scrooges
- Only send money to people you know in real life. Zelle/Venmo/PayPal and wire requests should be reviewed carefully. Scams of all types have been on the rise such as accidental payment scams, fake check scams, romance scams, etc.
- Beware of strange emails that require you to click on a link to fix an issue with your order, or your account. These links will take you to a website that looks exactly like the official business website. Any information you input on the website can then be used by the fraudsters. Think before you click. When is doubt, contact the company directly and let them know about any strange emails you have received.
- Be on the lookout for skimming or shimming devices when using ATMs or gas pumps. For gas pumps, try to use the pump closest to the entrance door as they are less likely to be a target for these devices.
- Only donate to well-known, respectable charities/organizations. If you have doubts do some research. The Federal Trade Commission has a great list of resources you can use to make sure your charitable donations are being put to good use.
Share these tips with your family and friends. Be diligent and on the lookout for red flags. Fraud comes in many different forms and cannot always be entirely prevented, but there are things we can do to minimize losses and further exposure.
Happy Holidays From Fitzsimons Credit Union!