MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – The holiday season is a wonderful time of year, with gifts, good food, family and friends, but it’s also a prime time for hackers, scammers and online thieves. While Americans are online looking for the best gifts and deals, criminals will be looking to take advantage. Navigator Credit Union has some ways you can keep your information safe before and after you check out.
Safeguard your devices
Before searching for that perfect gift, make sure your device, apps, browser and anti-virus/anti-malware software are patched and up to date. Enable automatic software updates where available to give you peace of mind. Check any privacy and security settings to make sure you understand how your information will be used and stored. Also, make sure you’re not sharing more information than you want or need to provide.
Use complex passwords
Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure your critical accounts have strong, unique passwords. Consider using a password manager to help. Whenever possible, enable multi-factor authentication, also known as two-factor authentication, for an added layer of security. It may be inconvenient, but it’s also one of the best security strategies.
Shop reliable websites, and get there safely
Think about how you’re searching online and how you are finding deals. Cybercriminals will often send phishing emails – designed to look like they’re from retailers – that have malicious links or that ask for you to provide personal or financial institution information. Instead of clicking on links, get to a retailer’s site by directly typing in a known, trusted URL into the address bar. Look for “https://” or a closed padlock in the address bar to indicate information on the site is encrypted. Treat all Wi-Fi hotspots and public computers as compromised, even if they appear to be safe. Limit the type of business you conduct on them including shopping.
Use safe methods for purchases
If you can, use a credit card as opposed to a debit card for purchases. There are laws to limit your liability for fraudulent credit card charges, but you may not have the same level of protection for your debit cards. Additionally, because a debit card draws money directly from your checking account, unauthorized charges could leave you with insufficient funds to pay other bills.
A Navigator Platinum Rewards card is the perfect online shopping partner. Cardholders earn one reward point for every dollar spent – which can be redeemed for thousands of options including cash back. There’s also no annual fee, no balance transfer fees and no cash advance fees. Learn more or apply today at navigatorcu.org/your-card.
Check your credit card and checking account statements regularly. These are often the first indicators that your account information or identity has been stolen. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately. You can also stay safe with text alerts. Many financial institutions, including Navigator, provide the option to set alerts, such as text messages for every transaction over a specified amount or a daily summary of your current balance. Set these alerts and use them to spot signs of unusual activity.
About Navigator Credit Union
Navigator Credit Union has been guiding the Gulf Coast since 1939. Navigator is a not-for-profit credit union, here for Members, not Wall Street investors. That means the Credit Union can provide a full range of financial products and services, with better rates, fewer fees and more flexibility than most banks, including free checking, home loans, auto loans and credit cards. Navigator has 12 full-service Branches from Gulfport, Miss., to Daphne, Ala., and is committed to providing the strength, stability and financial resources Members need – no matter what happens on life’s journey. Visit navigatorcu.org to learn more or apply for membership!
Navigator Credit Union
Locations from Gulfport, Miss., to Daphne, Ala.
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