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Fraud Prevention

04/12/2016

Seasonal Fraud: Protect Yourself This Holiday

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While identity theft and fraud happen year-round, incidents often spike during the winter holiday season. Educate yourself on the three most common reasons that happens, and learn how to protect your identity and your bank account:

1. Opportunity increases. During the Christmas season, more people are shopping – spending money both online and in stores. More shopping means more financial and personal information being shared, which means greater opportunity for identity theft and fraud. In fact, over 40% of each year’s online fraud happens during October, November and December.* Not only that, incidents are less likely to be caught quickly during this busy season when most people have less time to spend reviewing statements and bank records. Help catch problems as fast as possible by closely reviewing all charges on your debit and credit cards in a timely manner, rather than setting statements aside.

2. We’re looking for bargains. To go along with more shopping in general, many people are focused on finding the perfect bargain to snag that ideal gift. All too often, that leads to clicking on unfamiliar links. Instead of the deal of a lifetime, you may find malware that makes your phone or computer (and all your passwords) susceptible to hackers. Protect yourself by only shopping on websites of retailers you’re familiar with, and avoid opening emails from unknown sources in your inbox – especially if the offer sounds too good to be true.

3. We’re generous. Giving to charity is an integral part of the holiday season for many people, but it’s also a source of fraud for unscrupulous criminals preying on the kind-hearted. Before handing over your card to an unknown cause, be sure to research the organization and make sure they’re legitimate. Signs of a potential scam include the charity refusing to provide detailed information about its identity, mission or proof the contribution is tax deductible; using a name that closely resembles a better-known, reputable organization; using high-pressure tactics; or guaranteeing sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a contribution.

For extra fraud protection this holiday season, download the free CardValet app from Southern Bank. This easy-to-use app ensures you’re always in control of your card activity, allowing you to turn cards off and on, set thresholds, monitor transactions and more. Learn more

© 2015 Harland Clarke Digital®