Don't Be A Target For Holiday Hoaxes

safe holiday shopping is importantThe hustle and bustle of the holidays are upon us and that means additional shopping, spending and traveling for many of us. Unfortunately, these increased transactions are a golden opportunity for scammers.

"Scams, fraud and data hacks abound during peak shopping season. However, you can fight back against the criminals who may try to steal your identity and money with a few precautions and common sense.”

The Stephenson National Bank & Trust (SNBT) wants to protect you from holiday hoaxes with the following tips:

Monitor your account. Check your statements regularly, especially during the holidays. Be sure you are enrolled in Bank Online and Mobile Banking so you can check your account from anywhere, at any time.

Take precautions when making online transactions. Scammers often set up bogus websites offering popular products at below-market prices. They’ll take your money and you’ll get nothing in return. Be sure to only shop on reputable, well-known websites. You can also visit the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org to check out the company’s reputation. Enroll your cards for Mastercard Secure Code.

Use your chip card. Many banks and card companies have already replaced the old debit and credit cards with a new chip card. This card offers more advanced security and will make it extremely difficult for criminals to counterfeit or copy the card. Be sure to use this card over other cards to ensure tighter security.

Secure your internet connection. If shopping online, make sure you do so from a password protected Wi-Fi Network. Never access online banking from a public Wi-Fi network.

Be sure your debit and credit card issuer offers zero liability for compromised cards. As a cardholder, you should not be liable for any fraudulent charges on your account as long as you report the unauthorized transactions to your financial institution.

Never Give your Personal Information to Anyone! No legitimate entity, neither the police nor bank personnel, will ever ask you for your Account or Personal Identification Number (PIN) number. This is true in person, on the phone, and by email. If you are ever suspicious, contact your financial institution for verification.

Be cautious of fake emails. Some sophisticated thieves send emails pretending to come from legitimate merchants such as Amazon, FedEx or similar. Messages prey on quick response emotions asking recipients to click the link to a fake order tracking number which contains a virus or malware. Instead, go directly to the company website and verify your order and its delivery date. Read more about this...

For more fraud protection tips and information about safe shopping this holiday season, please visit the Consumer Alerts page.