Monday, November 23, 2015

Keeping Your Identity Safe this Holiday Season

We are now entering the prime time for identity theft due to an influx of online shopping and consumers who let their guard down during the holiday hustle and bustle. So how can you take precautions in order to protect your bank account and credit cards? We at McHenry Savings Bank are happy to share some best practices to keep your identity safe during this busy holiday season (and beyond)!
  • Only shop on secure sites: Online shopping is huge, which means there are plenty of thieves out there seeking data like yours. Only use trusted computers and networks. When purchasing items from an online retailer, make sure the site is safe by checking the URL. If it starts with "https://" or has a locked padlock symbol, you know you're surfing on a secure server.
  • Be vigilant about checking your account activity: Though most people wait until their statement arrives to review their purchases, during the holiday season it's a good idea to be on top of your account activity as frequently as possible. Credit card and bank smartphone apps make it easy to check your account activity and purchases in real time, so that you can take action quickly if something erroneous pops up.
  • Use your credit card for the majority of your purchases: Most people don't pay for their purchases in cash these days, which means they're either using a credit card, debit card, or writing a check. Checks and debit cards withdraw money directly from your bank account, making it harder to recoup what you lost. Credit cards have zero or low liability fraud protection, and there no risk of your bank account being drained from charges racked up on credit.
  • Be wary of social media sharing: Often social media sites, like Facebook, provide potential identity thieves with all the information they need to know that overlaps with financial security questions, like date of birth, pet's names, or your mother's maiden name. Keep your social media profiles private, or at least limit what people can see when they view your information.
Being proactive and extra attentive is key to keeping your identity and financial accounts safe this holiday season. If you see any fraudulent charges on your McHenry Savings Bank statement, or find your debit card has been lost or stolen, contact one of our branch locations immediately. If it's after banking hours, don't hesitate to contact MSB's Fraud Prevention Center by calling 1-800-500-1044.