The holiday season is upon us again. Celebrations may look a little different this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic won’t keep shoppers from checking off their holiday shopping lists. Instead, more consumers than ever will turn to online shopping for their holiday gift purchases. Last year, consumers spent $188.2 billion online for the period of November 1 through December 31. If that wasn’t incredible enough, Adobe Analytics forecasts a 33 percent increase in online shopping this November and December. 

More online activity brings increased cybersecurity concerns. At Muncy Bank, we want to help keep your finances and personal information secure this season and year-round. Our 2021 cybersecurity guide provides online shopping safety tips. Continue reading for ways to minimize your risks online this season.

When it comes to shopping online, stick to retailers you trust - image of a man holding a credit card looking at his laptop

Online Shopping Safety Tips

Shopping online means transmitting personal information such as usernames, passwords, your address, and account numbers over the internet. Unfortunately, hackers are constantly trying to infiltrate the security of these websites or trick you into providing your information on fake websites. Outsmart the scammers by following these important safety tips online.

Don’t provide personal information over public wifi. 

Public WiFi is not as secure as your home or work networks. Use a network protected by a WPA/WPA2 password if accessing personal accounts or providing financial information online. 

Only shop at trusted store websites. 

To be safe, type the store's web page into the address bar yourself. Clicking on a url that has been emailed or texted to you may be a trap.The link can look legit but redirect you to a fake store whose sole purpose is to steal your credit card information.

Know the signs of a secure website

Secure websites feature encryption that secures your personal information. A safe online store will start with “https” not just “http”. Many web browsers will also display a padlock symbol near that address bar to indicate a secure website.

Monitor your online credit, debit, and checking accounts by setting up alerts - Image of a woman sipping coffee looking at her cell phone

Keep your passwords strong and secure.

A strong password is at least 11 characters long and contains a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Try to avoid common words in your password and instead create an acronym that is only significant to you. Use a password manager to create and manage secure passwords for your different accounts. Read more about managing passwords in Fraud Prevention Tips to Protect your Identity. 

Don’t provide personal information over email or unsolicited phone calls. 

Never provide anyone claiming to be a store, bank, or even the government with personal information over email or text. If someone calls you asking for personal information, find a way to verify their claims or hang up and call them back at an official number. Many scammers will try to scare you into thinking you owe money or need to verify your account. Take this short quiz or watch this video for realistic examples of scams that people have fallen for.

Keeping Seniors Safe

Many seniors have limited experience with online shopping. This year the threat of COVID-19 and the closing of some brick-and-mortar stores is forcing seniors to shop online for their holiday gifts. Whether you have an older family member or are a senior yourself, be sure to take extra precautions this year. The most common scams attempt to bait seniors into clicking a link sent via email or text. 

  • Don’t click for a customer loyalty gift card.
  • Don’t click because there’s a problem with your order.
  • Don’t click to see a fraudulent charge we found on your account.
  • Don’t click to help your grandchild who is in trouble.
  • Don’t click to donate to a charity. 

During the holiday season, watch for these common email and text scams that target seniors. If you think the email or text is reputable, you can call the company directly. If you wish to donate to a charity, find their official website or call their regional office. You can find a database of legitimate charities on Charity Navigator.

Read about more fraud prevention tips for seniors. 

Be wary of customer service agents calling from large retailers claiming there is a problem with your account - image of a woman in her senior years holding a phone to her ear

Credit vs. Debit for Online Shopping

Over the past few years, credit cards have been touted as the safer payment method when shopping online due to their fraud protection benefit. Do debit cards offer fraud protection? Yes! When you run your debit card without the PIN, like for an online purchase, your debit card has the same protection as a credit card. You should always monitor your account closely for fraudulent charges. Enroll in online banking with text alerts that notify you of any charges made on your debit or credit card.

Credit cards aren’t for everyone. It’s easy to spend more than you intend with a credit card. According to financial guru Dave Ramsey, American households with credit card debt carry an average balance of $14,564. Luckily, there are debit cards that offer modern solutions to keep your accounts safe and secure. 

Debit Cards With Fraud Protection

Muncy Bank’s debit card comes with SecurLOCK protection. SecurLOCK is a fraud protection system that helps identify fraud and protect against loss. SecurLOCK monitors signature-based and PIN based transactions 24/7 to keep your account secure. This no charge service is automatic with your Muncy Bank debit card. If SecurLOCK identifies a potential fraud trigger, a phone call, email, and/or text message alert is sent to notify the account holder. You can then confirm that the suspicious charge is fraudulent and your account will be blocked from further activity. This feature prevents a scammer from racking up multiple charges against your account. If the suspected transaction turns out to be valid, your response will unblock your account and you can proceed without worry. 

For even more control over your debit card, Muncy Bank offers SecurLOCK EQUIP. SecurLOCK EQUIP is a mobile app that provides customers with control over their Muncy Bank debit card. With SecurLOCK EQUIP you’ll get real-time alerts and control over your account. The app also includes:

  • Instant transaction alerts
  • Controls to lock or unlock your debit card 
  • Options to limit card activity by location
  • Ability to set merchant categories, transaction types and spend limits

Fraud protection no longer requires a credit card. For checking account fraud protection, choose the Muncy Bank debit card. Muncy Bank even offers checking accounts that come with identity theft protection and payment fraud resolution. Learn more about SecurLOCK and SecurLOCK EQUIP by speaking with one of our knowledgeable associates. 

Consider a checking account with payment fraud resolution and identity theft protection, such as MyZing Checking or MyZing Checking Plus - Image of a woman in front of a laptop

Peace Of Mind This Holiday

With a little planning and mindfulness, you can safely navigate holiday online shopping this season. The right checking account and debit card will give you the added protection you need against fraudsters this year. For the best checking account with fraud protection, look no further than Muncy Bank. As your hometown bank, our associates pride themselves on building lasting relationships throughout Central Pennsylvania. Opening an account is fast and simple. Stop by one of our convenient locations in Muncy, Hughesville, Clarkstown, Montoursville, Dewart, Avis, and Linden or get in touch with us today. We’ve been defining community banking since 1893 and look forward to being your “Hometown Bank”

Related Blogs:

Watch out for Romance Scams 

What is a Money Mule Scam and How To Avoid Them 

Fraud Prevention Tips: Protect Your Identity

Fraud Prevention Tips for Seniors 

10 Ways to Protect Your Business from a Ransomware Attack