With inflation increasing the cost of goods and services, many Americans are turning to holiday shopping events like Cyber Monday 2022, which falls on Nov. 28, to give their wallets some relief while buying presents. But it’s important to take steps to protect your personal and banking information before taking advantage of these deals. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a reminder to stay vigilant during the holiday season. Bad actors use techniques like phishing and fraudulent sites to gain access to your information. Use the following online shopping safety tips to prepare and keep the season merry, bright, and secure!
5 online shopping safety tips for Cyber Monday 2022
1. Use strong passwords
You’ve likely created accounts on shopping sites to take advantage of rewards and keep your information stored for a quicker checkout. Just as with other websites, it’s important to use strong passwords for these accounts. To make a strong password:
- Use at least eight characters.
- Don’t include your name or username – this will make it easier for criminals to guess.
- Incorporate a mix of numbers and lower case and capital letters.
2. Shop on secure sites
It’s best to shop on websites you’re familiar with. Search engines are fantastic for finding stores and services, but they also expose you to predatory websites. Double check the spelling of a website and if the domain matches (e.g. if a website you frequent is a .com website, ensure what you’re clicking on doesn’t use .net). You can also identify a secure internet connection if the padlock symbol or “https” is in the address bar or URL.
3. Use Debit Card Controls
The best credit unions and banks offer controls on your debit card to protect your money. These controls let you set spend limits, restrict purchases from certain types of merchants, and even turn your debit card on and off at the flip of a switch. Want to temporarily allow international purchases, then turn them back off once the holidays are over? You can do that, too!
- Learn more about General Electric Credit Union’s (GECU) Debit Card Controls with this helpful infographic!
4. Vet merchants
Is there a new online boutique you’re interested in shopping at? Look them up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You can view the business’s rating and accreditation, as well as any complaints filed against them. Proactive research will help you make the best financial decisions while holiday shopping.
5. Review your statements
One way to spot fraud is by reviewing your transaction history. Someone with access to your banking information may use it to make in-person or online purchases. Comb through statements to identify anything that looks unfamiliar. If you suspect fraud, contact your credit union or bank immediately.
- Tip: GECU members can enroll in eStatements and view up to two years of statement history!
Safe online shopping on Cyber Monday 2022 is just a matter of being proactive and using the security tools available to you. GECU members should activate their Debit Card Controls to boost their checking account safety. Online Banking and mobile app users also have access to eStatements, which make it easy to review transaction history and spot unauthorized transactions. Make security a priority this holiday season with help from the Best Credit Union in Cincinnati.