Ask Mary: Ho-Ho-How Do I Stay Safe this Holiday Season?!

Dear Mary: I’ve got a long shopping list. How can I be a safe shopper this year?

The holiday season is fast approaching. I’m sure we all know at least one person who has already traded their pumpkins for Christmas trees! And, while protecting your information may seem like a simple task, we are often distracted or in a hurry this time of year, and security sometimes falls through the cracks.

To that end, here are my top three suggestions for fraud protection this holiday season. Although these tips may not save the world, they may save you, or your clients, some money and inconvenience over the next few months.

1. Do Not Share Your Debit Card with Anyone

Asking a trusted friend or family member to run an errand or put gas in your car may seem simple enough, but unfortunately, it can lead to one of the more common friendly fraud scenarios, including instances where the friend uses your card for their personal gain. Another common scenario is using your debit card to purchase a game or app on a device belonging to someone else. If the information is saved in the device, the holder of the device may unintentionally purchase more games or applications with your banking information or credit card.

2. Take Only What You Need

Before heading out to the mall, clean out your purse or wallet, taking only the required identification and card or two you will need to do your shopping. If your wallet (or purse) is lost or stolen, this will limit your losses and entities to contact. Never leave your belongings unattended, even in your shopping cart as you turn your head to look at an item. Criminals are always watching for you to be distracted so they can snag your prized possessions. Bonus: taking the bare minimum will keep you from straining your back with a loaded purse or wallet while carrying all those extra packages – now you’re protecting your bank account AND your back!

3. Check Your Accounts

Thanks to the power of technology, it’s easy to check our bank account balances regularly and on the go. Notifying your financial institution promptly will help minimize loss and frustration. Checking your account balance may also lessen the chance of overdrawn funds by keeping a closer eye on your funds.

The holiday season should be a time of family, friends and good cheer. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of heartache and frustration at the hands of fraudsters. While doing your holiday shopping, take a few minutes to remind yourself to be aware of your surroundings, protect your information and monitor all your accounts to limit your liability and potential losses.

‘Tis the Season to Fight Fraudsters

This season gives to the needy, not to fraudsters! Criminals consistently find new ways to scam. Stay on top of the latest fraud trends with our last Quarterly Compliance and Fraud Review of 2019! Join us on December 13th to learn more about the latest compliance and fraud issues currently impacting the payment space. Register now!