Fraud Prevention – Top 5 Buying Tips – Coin Savings Brought to you by Coosa Valley Credit Union

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The holidays are definitely upon us now. Before you venture into the crazy world of holiday shopping, take a look at these tips to protect your wallet and help prevent fraud, whether it’s online or in-store:

Trust your instincts

When shopping online, the most important thing to do is trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about a website, don’t give them any personal information. Beware of red flags like asking for too much personal information, outdated web design, weird web address, or lots of pop-up ads. While it can be hard to pass up a great deal, you’ll thank yourself later when your credit card information is safe.

Pay with a secure payment method

Look for websites that accept secure payment methods like PayPal and credit cards. These companies provide better buyer protection in the event of a dispute, so you will not be held responsible for fraudulent charges. You should also look for security labels like VeriSign, DigiCert, and other well-known seals. Be skeptical of any apps or sites that only accept payments by wire transfer, money order, or check.

Inspect URL

Ideally, you should only visit secure websites. Look at the URL for the acronym HTTPS. The “S” means the website is secure, unlike other URLs starting with HTTP. These sites encrypt the information transmitted to them so that they are visible only to the intended recipient. If you shop on an HTTP site, be careful about what information you share with them.

Do not use public Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi may seem like a godsend, but by using it you can expose yourself to cyber attacks. Often times, Wi-Fi hotspots do not encrypt your data, so any hacker with the right software can steal your banking information and identity. When on a public Wi-Fi network, don’t do anything that requires you to enter personal information, such as making purchases.

Check your receipts and bank statements

When shopping in-store, make sure receipts reflect the correct amount of the transaction before signing. And no matter what type of shopping you do, always regularly check your credit card and bank statements for fraudulent charges. While financial institutions are fairly good at detecting fraud, some transactions can fall through the cracks. Keep an eye out for purchases you haven’t made or received.

Happy holiday shopping and don’t forget to stay within your budget!


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