Article / Stay Safe While Shopping this Holiday Season
The holidays are fast approaching and for many of us this means it's time for some serious holiday shopping. A survey from the National Retail Federation predicts that the average person will spend over $800 on gifts, food, and decorations this year.*
With more ways to shop now than ever before and increased spending, this season often sees an increase in fraud and theft attempts. So whether you prefer to shop online or enjoy the hustle and bustle of the mall, it is important to take simple precautions to ensure your holiday season is merry and bright.
Here are some helpful tips for shopping safely this holiday season:
- Create a budget and a plan for how you will make purchases (cash, debit, credit, etc.) so you don’t overspend.
- Check your financial statements monthly and your credit report every year, only you will know if they're accurate.
- Don’t open new store credit unless you are aware of all the terms (APR, due date, penalties, etc.) It’s not worth the 15% discount at the register.
- Be careful with your mail. Get a locking mailbox or ensure someone is available to receive incoming mail. Put outgoing mail in a secure mailbox or take it to the post office.
- Don’t use or share your social security number or date of birth unless absolutely necessary (and you are confident they will keep it secure).
- Shred receipts and statements after you don’t need them anymore – don’t just throw them in the trash or recycling bin.
- Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
- Look for a padlock or key icon in the browser's status bar and be sure "https" appears in the website's address bar before making an online purchase. These indicators mean that the site is secure and communication with the webpage is encrypted.
- Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your credit card information when you place your order. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal credit card numbers and other confidential information.
- Avoid scams and fraud. Don't ever give your financial information or personal information over e-mail or text. Be aware of unsolicited communications purporting to represent stores or charities. Always think before you click on e-mails you receive asking for donations and contact the organization directly to verify the request. Information on many current scams can be found on the website of the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.
If your Advantis credit or debit card is stolen, please notify us as soon as possible.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft visit our identity theft page more information. If you have further questions or would like to speak to a Member Service Representative, please call us at 503-785-2528 or email us.