Whether you buy your gifts online or in store, CUA and the Nova Scotia RCMP want you to shop safely this Christmas season.
Unfortunately, the holidays can present opportunities for Grinch-like behaviour from criminals who target unsuspecting shoppers.
To help prevent you from getting your credit cards frozen by Jack Frost or getting Scrooged by a cyber criminal, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while shopping in store or online:
What to do in store
- Don’t carry extra items in your wallet. Leave cards you don’t need at home when you go shopping to reduce the chance of losing them or having your personal information fall into the wrong hands.
- Always shield your pin when paying for your items.
- Only shop or bank on secure WiFi networks. Cyber criminals often create unsecured public WiFi networks to steal your information.
- If you can, shop with your credit card. Credit cards have more protection if you get scammed.
- Keep yourself on budget by buying a prepaid credit card for holiday shopping. It’s more secure and financially responsible.
What to do at home
- Ask Santa for a shredder this Christmas! Shred all documents and bills that contain your personal or financial information before putting in the trash.
- Keep your gift receipts in a safe place.
- Use separate passwords for your phone, debit, and credit cards to prevent hackers from gaining access to your accounts.
- Make sure your home WiFi is protected. Open networks leave you vulnerable to hackers.
- Set up a notification setting that sends a text or e-mail directly to your mobile phone when a credit card purchase is made. This way you’ll know if someone other than yourself is using your card.
- Instead of opening the link in an email with an exclusive online deal, visit the store website to find the deal. Cybercriminals can send links with malware to try and scam you.
- When you get a notification to update the software on your cellphone or computer, actually do it, don’t wait!
- Every consumer has the right to a free annual credit report. January is a good time to get this done to ensure your holiday purchases are correct and to keep you financially responsible.