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Safe Holiday Shopping Tips 2.0

Written by Derek Smith, IT Security & Compliance Specialist

derek smith - first businessAs an IT professional at First Business, part of my job is staying on top of ever-changing security challenges and helping our employees to navigate them. As an update to my first safe shopping blog, “Safe Holiday Shopping: What You Need To Know,” I put together these additional tips for your holiday shopping protection.

Use credit cards to shop online and in person.

Credit cards often offer the best liability protection thanks to federal regulations that make sure you don’t have to pay while the fraudulent transaction is investigated. Also, most of the major credit card companies do not hold you liable for fraud. In contrast, federal regulations limit your liability to $50 max with a debit card if you report it within two business days. If you wait longer than 60 days, you may never see that money again. Which leads me to my next tip…

Check your online financial statements often for fraudulent charges.

This time of year, when charges are flying around fast and furiously, it’s important to check your checking account and credit card accounts for any charges you didn’t make. Sign up for text alerts that notify you of each charge as it’s made. First Business debit card clients should take advantage of SecurLOCKTM Equip, which offers real-time alerts, as well. And don’t forget that you get one free credit report a year. Make sure to review it annually to head off any fraud or errors.

Break down those boxes.

One great way to notify criminals about what you have in your house is the packaging box you leave out on trash day. Those new television, game console, and electronic boxes are an invitation for your home to be burglarized. To reduce the chance of criminals knowing what you have, break down those boxes into pieces that you can put into trash bags.

Know what’s coming to your home.

Sign up for delivery email notifications of your online purchases and consider requesting special delivery instructions if you won’t be home to decrease the visibility of packages. If you trust your neighbors, you also can ask them to hold onto packages until you get home. Don’t forget to thank them and maybe reward them with some baked goodies.

Stay safe while out and about.

Here are a few tips to consider when going to the mall or your local shopping hub:

  • Lock your purchases in the trunk or remove them from plain view. When they’re out of sight, they’re less attractive to potential criminals.
  • Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi to help protect your bank account and credit card data.
  • Shop in a group, if possible, so you’re less vulnerable.
  • Plan to purchase your most expensive item at the last store you visit for the day.
  • Avoid carrying purses. Use a wallet that you can put in your inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.

With a bit of shopping savvy, you can delight your friends, family, and stay safe this holiday season.

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