The holiday season is in full swing, which may also mean changes to your spending habits. Perhaps you’re shopping at different online stores or visiting new places. Here are some tips for protecting your financial transactions from hackers:
• Don’t shop online using public WiFi access.
• Be vigilant for suspicious-looking ATMs and point-of-sale credit card readers.
• When possible, use a credit card instead of a debit card. The protections are much better and fraud is easier to deal with. If you have access to payment services such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet, use those when possible. That way the vendor will never even see your card number.
• Take advantage of the alert features on your credit card.
• Never purchase merchandise from an online vendor that doesn’t use secure HTTPS links for the purchase process.
• Review your credit card and bank statements on a regular basis. There are time limitations on reporting fraud.
• Be careful with opening emails as they may be phishing attempts. This is particularly true during the holiday season where a lot of e-cards are being sent out. Many of them are actually malicious and it’s hard to tell the difference. If you receive one, verify that the sender actually sent it. If not, delete. Do not open them at all at work.