Cyber Security and the Holidays

Megan Hiatt

Financial Services Specialist

United Community Bank

Member FDIC

The holiday season is here – time to enjoy delicious food, family and friends. As the hustle and bustle of the season is upon us, online shopping can play a major role. While this is certainly convenient, it is important to be aware of the cyber crime risks that can accompany it, especially during this time of year.

As a consumer, there are many topics you can educate yourself on to help increase awareness. These include phishing scams, password security, public wifi and secure websites. In addition, community banks are also available to help with a variety of tools that can assist in convenience while keeping your financial information secure.

Online/Mobile Banking – Not only does online banking provide the convenience to bank around your own schedule, it is also securely encrypted to protect privacy. In addition, it provides real time access to purchases made through your account, therefore allowing you to catch fraudulent purchases more quickly.

Apple/Google Pay – Despite popular belief, carrying your debit card in a digital format versus a plastic card is actually much more secure. Apple or Google Pay eliminates the need for a physical card, utilizes Touch ID to make easy and completely secure purchases, and allows you to pay online without having to create an account.

Card Valet – This app allows the convenience of your debit card while assisting to manage the risk. It offers fraud protection, the ability to control spending and the opportunity to review balances and transactions in real time.

Text Fraud Alerts – Text Fraud Alerts provide an alert when suspicious activity occurs on your card. As a card holder you have the opportunity through the message to confirm the purchase or indicate the transaction is fraud.

SecureCode – This private code feature is available on major debit card providers and offers a private code option adds an extra layer of protection for online shopping security.

Community bankers recognize the conveniences in today’s shopping world but encourage consumers to be aware, educate themselves, and take advantage of the opportunities that your bank provides to keep your financial information secure.

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