The holiday season is a time of joy, generosity and, unfortunately, increased vulnerability to financial scams. As we immerse ourselves in the festivities, cybercriminals are hard at work devising new and sophisticated schemes to exploit your festive spirit. In this blog post, we'll shed light on the various holiday financial scams that you need to be aware of and provide tips on how to safeguard your hard-earned money during this celebratory time.
- Online Shopping Scams: Online shopping has become a staple of holiday preparations. However, cybercriminals take advantage of this surge in online activity to create fake websites, phishing emails, and counterfeit products. Before making a purchase, ensure that the website is secure (look for "https://" and a padlock symbol in the address bar), read customer reviews, and be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true.
- Charity Scams: The holiday season is synonymous with giving, and scammers exploit this generosity by creating fake charity organizations. They often use heart-wrenching stories to manipulate individuals into making donations to non-existent causes. To avoid falling victim to charity scams, research organizations before contributing, donate directly through official websites, and be skeptical of unsolicited donation requests.
- Gift Card Scams: Gift cards are a popular and convenient holiday gift, and scammers have found ways to exploit them. Fraudsters may tamper with gift cards on store shelves, record the activation codes, and then monitor the card's balance online. To protect yourself, only purchase gift cards from reputable sources, check for any signs of tampering, and keep receipts as proof of purchase.
- Package Delivery Scams: As online shopping increases, so do package deliveries. Scammers take advantage of this by sending fake delivery notifications via email or text, claiming there is an issue with your shipment and requesting personal information or payment to resolve the problem. Always verify the legitimacy of delivery notifications by checking directly with the shipping company using contact information from their official website.
Use our tools to help avoid fraud
While no one is safe from potential financial fraud, there are things you can do to lower your risk of being scammed. Take advantage of the tools we offer to help you gain even more control over your accounts.
- Account alerts – Use Chambers online banking to set up alerts about your checking or savings account. You can choose to be notified via text and/or email when your account balance falls below a certain amount, a debit charge is above a set amount, your account becomes overdrawn, or a deposit is made. Alerts are a great way to have peace of mind about your Chambers account, and they’re free for all Chambers online banking customers (message and data rates may apply).
- SecurLOCK Equip – Have a Chambers debit card? Be sure to download our SecurLOCK Equip app to control where, how and when your debit card is used. With the SecurLOCK Equip app, you can turn your debit card off and on or control transactions by channel (in-store, online, mobile, ATM, etc.). You can also set transaction spending limits, select geographic locations where your card can be used, set merchant locations, and view transactions. You can even set up alerts to notify you every time your debit card is used, or when transactions are attempted over a set amount. There is no additional charge to use SecurLOCK Equip for Chambers debit card customers (message and data rates may apply).
- Positive Pay – Chambers business account customers can protect their company from account fraud by utilizing our Positive Pay service. With Positive Pay, your business uploads a file containing issued check data into the Positive Pay system. Checks presented for payment against your account are compared to those issued by the business. Any check not on the issued check list (and potentially fraudulent) is sent to you as an exception for examination. Your business logs in to the Positive Pay system, reviews the exception item and makes a “pay” or “return” decision for each item. You also have the option to set up ACH authorization rules or filter blocks for complete fraud prevention. Depending on your needs, you can choose to block specific ACH transactions or authorize only specific vendors to access your account. Want to know more? Contact our business support team to talk about adding Positive Pay to your account.
While the holiday season is a time for celebration and sharing, it's crucial to remain vigilant against financial scams. By staying informed, adopting safe online practices, and utilizing our account tools, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to holiday financial scams. Remember: a little caution can go a long way in ensuring a joyful and secure holiday season for everyone.