Be Safe While Shopping this Holiday Season

woman shoppingWe want all of our members to be safe – whether they are doing their banking, checking social media or even just traveling to see family. But remember to stay safe and be aware when shopping. Below are tips for keeping yourself, your identity and your gifts safe whether shopping online or at the store.

Online Shopping

Keep these things in mind to protect your credit card and keep your credit union account information safe: 

  •  Purchase from secure shopping websites—look for the “lock.” Check the address bar for a padlock symbol indicating it’s a secure website. Also, addresses beginning with “https” (and not just “http”) indicate additional web security.
  • Shop online only with a secure network. Although you might hanging out at a coffee shop, avoid using the public Wi-Fi in order to keep your payment information safe.
  • Protect your personal information. Never click the box to “remember” or save your password or credit card information. It only takes a few seconds to enter this information when you revisit a site.
  • Watch out for imposters. With online shopping, you typically receive a confirmation for the order and another when shipping occurs. However, you may receive an email from an imposter about an incorrect order or a store asking for credit card information. Be sure not to click any links in those emails and delete it immediately.
  • Monitor your purchases.  Be sure to review your credit card and credit union statements throughout the year. During the holidays, it is even more important to be vigilant so you can catch any suspicious activity on your accounts.
  • Ship to a secure location. Package theft is becoming a growing trend. Avoid having your boxes stolen from your front porch by shipping to your work address or a neighbor who is home during the day.

Brick and Mortar Shopping

For those of us who prefer enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the shopping experience, keep in mind that this is prime time for thieves to also be out.

Some tips to keep in mind before heading out to the store:

  • Prepare. The stores can be warm and you may want to leave your coat in the car; that way, you are not trying to keep track of your coat, packages, your purse and/or your wallet. This could provide an easy target for thieves.
  • Distractions. The most common distraction is to be on the phone or texting as you are walking to the next store, or to your car. It’s critical to be aware of your surroundings at these susceptible times. Wait until you are in a place where you can focus and not be a target.
  • Parking. Pay attention to detail when choosing a parking spot. Park in a well-lit area and make note of the location of your car, or tie a holiday bow to your car where you will be able to spot it easily. Prior to leaving the store or mall, gather all your packages and have your keys ready in your hand. Walk with purpose to your car and scan your surroundings for anyone (or anything) that seems suspicious. Many shops or malls have additional security on-site, even in the parking lots.
  • Package Safety. If you plan on a shopping marathon, following the first three tips will have you ready for the race. However, if you need to make multiple trips to your car to drop off purchases, you’ll need to make sure they are secure until you return. Put packages in the trunk where they are out of sight. If packages need to be in the back or front seat, try to place them on the floor of the car and cover them with a blanket so they’re not visible to anyone walking past the car.

Take the extra time to ensure your personal and financial safety during your holiday shopping. We want all of our members to have an enjoyable and safe season!

Use Mobile Card Control if you suspect suspicious activity on your Members 1st Visa® Debit or Credit Cards! 

Simply turn your card on or off at the touch of a button.

Learn more here!

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