Instead of using the same password for multiple websites, use unique passwords that aren't easily guessed, especially for your bank accounts. Roughly 59% of Americans use their names and birthdates in their passwords, which criminals can source from social media. While it’s not uncommon to receive emails from legitimate sources asking you to update your password, there are common warning signs indicating it’s a scam. Look for spelling and grammar errors and vague introductions, such as “dear valued customer,” “sir” or “madame”, instead of your real name. Additionally, when you hover over the links with your mouse, look for URLs that do not match the source domain. Scam emails will reveal a series of numbers or a fake web address in the link.
Pay attention to software updates for your devices, as they often contain extra security features. Selecting automatic updates will ensure you always have the latest updates from the manufacturer. Additionally, check that your browser security settings are appropriate by reviewing plug-ins and removing ones you no longer use or don’t recognize. Select the option for your browser to ask permission before tracking your location and be sure to disable automatic downloads.
Cybercriminals use fake websites to trick consumers into handing over their debit and credit card information. Make sure the website URL contains "https" in the URL before shopping, which means extra security measures are in place to protect data. Additionally, research the company before visiting its website by checking out Google Reviews and social media channels.
While shoppers focus on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, fraudsters are targeting you with holiday scams, hoping you’ll take the bait. Be highly cautious of items offered for “free” or inexpensive, especially from unfamiliar retailers. You’re opening the door to identity theft or malware by clicking links or signing up for bogus offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Credit cards often carry "zero-liability" protections and account monitoring. With zero-liability protections, you’re not liable for purchases if you report the suspicious activity in a reasonable time and take necessary safety precautions. Seacoast Bank’s debit card has similar zero-liability security features in place if you prefer your spending to be deducted directly from your account. Contact your financial institution for details about their zero-liability policy before you begin your online holiday shopping.
Link your debit and credit card to your device's digital wallet for secure online shopping. Purchases made using a digital wallet are encrypted, meaning your personal information isn't shared with the merchant. As an added layer of security, your device’s facial recognition and passcode make it even harder for criminals to access your sensitive information.
Education is your first line of defense when it comes to preventing holiday fraud. From charity scams to Ponzi schemes, government websites USA.Gov and FBI.Gov list common scams and provide helpful resources for reporting them.
Gift card scams are prevalent during the holiday season because tracking transactions are complicated. If a retailer asks you to pay using a gift card, it's likely a scam. Scammers can quickly get your money without ever sending the item you purchased.
Be aware of fake charities and fraudsters impersonating legitimate charities during the holiday season. Fast-talking criminals may contact you hoping to catch you off guard or use wordplay to trick you into donating money. It’s important to know the organization you’re giving to and how the donation will be used. Charity Navigator is a website where you can search reputable charities before giving.
Cybercriminals use increased online shopping to create delivery scams. When purchasing online, always keep your tracking number of monitoring the process. Be alert of illegitimate texts and emails asking you to verify package delivery.
Cybercriminals use the popularity and convenience of online holiday shopping to gain access to your personal information. Educate yourself on common cybersecurity scams and be proactive in protecting yourself.
Remember, Seacoast Bank will never call, text, or email you asking you to provide, update, or verify sensitive information such as your PIN, social security numbers, debit or credit card numbers, passwords, or security codes. Click here for more information on how to prevent cyberattacks.