The frenzy of the holiday shopping season creates an inviting environment for fraudsters and identity thieves who aim to take advantage of distracted shoppers.
FICO manages the worldwide FICO® Falcon® Fraud Manager consortium, which provides fraud protection for approximately 85% of U.S. credit cards. Our experts suggest a proactive approach to protection with the following tips:
- Lock your phone with a password
- Use extreme caution when downloading applications from unknown sources. Only download your bank’s mobile app from the official bank website or a trusted source.
- Enable “Find my phone” functionality when possible to locate missing devices or to remotely clear the device of all sensitive data in the event it is stolen.
- Take advantage of smart device apps that permit you to use a 4-digit passcode to activate the ecommerce feature.
- Avoid using free public Wi-Fi for conducting financial transactions. Fraudsters can easily capture your sensitive data over an unsecured network without you even knowing.
- Keep your mobile device, as well as all personal belongings, secure during the holiday season — even in your office or place of work.
- Look for HTTPS in the URL when paying online. This secure website protocol means that you’re getting an extra layer of protection.
- Shop the online retailers you recognize. Carefully evaluate unfamiliar ones before making purchases.
- Sometimes an incredible deal is actually a ruse to harvest your payment card information. If you see a $2,000 laptop on sale for $100, it’s probably too good to be true.
- If a transaction looks suspicious on your account, reach out to your card issuer immediately to clarify the charge as soon as possible. Have the numbers to reach lender customer service on your mobile phone.
- Monitor your credit score on a regular basis through www.myfico.com.
- Be alert when using the ATM. Check for evidence of machine tampering and only use machines in well lit areas.
John Buzzard, product manager, FICO® Card Alert Service, and a consumer fraud expert