The American Bankers Association offers the following tips to help you stay safe while you search for deals:
Monitor your account. Use online and mobile banking to monitor your transactions, especially during the holidays. Notify your bank immediately if you notice any suspicious activity.
Be on the alert for phishing scams. During the holidays, criminals will sometimes create a fake email for a deal that’s too good to be true. You know the saying—if something is too good to be true, it usually is. Make sure not to click on any links within the email. You might unintentionally download malware onto your computer or you might be be asked for payment information that could lead to fraud.
Limit large sums of cash. Even though financial crimes usually migrate from physical to digital, never carry around large sums of cash when shopping. This will make you an easy target for thieves.
Secure your internet connection. If you decide to do your shopping online, make sure to shop from a password-protected Wi-Fi network. Never access online banking from a public Wi-Fi network. This will put your personal information at risk because it will be easier to access.
Shop safely. Before you make an online purchase, check to see if the website uses secure technology. Once you reach the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with “https.” The ABA also recommends that consumers check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.