Protect Yourself this Holiday Season Using these Security Tips

Protect Yourself this Holiday Season Using these Security Tips

December 20th, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but that does not mean you shouldn’t remain secure and safe throughout the season. According to payment processor ACI Worldwide, online fraud attempts are projected to jump 30% this holiday season compared to last year’s. This tell us that utilizing the right tools and tips to guard yourself is more crucial than ever.

E-commerce and Cashless Payments

Perhaps the jump in fraud attempts aligns with the rise of e-commerce and online shopping. According to Statista, global retail e-commerce sales increased 20% from 2015 to 2016. From 2016 to 2017, Statista projects a 23% bump, from $1.86 trillion to $2.30 trillion.

Moreover, 75% of consumers prefer to transact via credit or debit card compared to 11% that favor cash, found payment solutions provider TSYS in its 2016 U.S. Consumer Payments Study. A jump in online sales — that inherently functions through credit cards, debit cards, and digital payment processors like PayPal — coupled with consumers’ preference for these payment methods, results in a massive secular shift for cashless payments. It’s usually cut and dry when cash is lost or stolen. However, credit cards threaten your identity, credit rating, and savings.

E-commerce and online shopping has increased so much over the years, it seems like it’s the only option for shopping. The feasibility of searching a store’s entire inventory from your couch and receiving a package is exciting to all generations. But it is important to stay careful throughout the process.

Protecting Yourself from Fraud

It is important to be careful of where you are shopping. Any site that you input sensitive information into should have a secure sockets layer (SSL) to protect your data. You can easily identify this looking at the web address.  Many browsers and websites clearly display “Secure” or a green lock to the left of the web address, making it even easier to know what sites to trust.

Second, try to use a credit card instead of a debit card. If a fraudster steals your credit card information, they can charge payments to it. They can also use your personal information to open up lines of credit and take out loans. Fraudsters access a direct line to your checking account when they steal your debit card. They can take cash out and manipulate your personal information. The key difference is that credit card fraud is more reversible than debit card fraud. Prominent credit card companies typically prepare to deal with fraud in advance.  They can act quickly by freezing your card. More importantly, you don’t lose any money, because your credit card represents a balance you owe, not cash you hold. All that needs to take place is adjusting your balance and maintaining the integrity of your personal information. However, a debit card allows fraudsters direct access to liquid cash. They can withdrawal funds and make charges that instantly deplete your cash balance. Unlike credit cards, you do lose money. The bank may be prepared for fraud, but it’s difficult and time consuming to replace stolen funds and settle discrepancies. This can threaten your ability to pay bills, buy groceries, or fill up your gas tank while you wait for a refund.

Who doesn’t love giving and receiving presents? Through utilizing the above tips, you will remain secure throughout the fun of the holiday season!

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