November 19, 2018

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have been popping up for weeks but beware – along with deals come fraudsters and con artists who want to take advantage of the increase in online activity to access your personal information. Shop safer this holiday season by following these simple guidelines.

Deals! Be aware of online “deals” from unfamiliar sources – do not click on email links from unknown senders to avoid unknowingly downloading malware or computer viruses. “One day only” websites featuring the sale of hard-to-find items are probably too good to be true so avoid them.

Know your seller. Research online stores or sellers prior to buying or providing payment information; make sure the websites you are shopping from are legitimate. Here are few tips to research an online retailer.

Secure your computer. At a minimum, have anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall. Turn off your computer when you’re finished shopping online.

Shop from home. Avoid using public computers and if shopping from your mobile device, don’t use public Wi-Fi.

Research retailer apps. Be sure retailer’s apps transmit information through a secure connection. If you’re not sure, you should shop from their website instead of the app.

Look for the lock. When shopping online, look for the “https” or the padlock in the address bar in the top left corner of your browser window while checking out, indicating you have a secure connection.

Protect your information. Do not provide personal information in exchange for online coupons or in response to emails, text messages, or phone calls. This includes Facebook personal messages. In addition, retailers typically do not need your social security number or date of birth to transact business so you should never provide that information.

Monitor your accounts. Knowing how your cards and accounts are being used can prevent unauthorized usage and allow you to respond immediately to any suspicious activity. We recommend setting up free Text Alerts to receive notifications about activity on your account.

As always, report scams to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or call (877) FTC-HELP.

If you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, or your 1stUSCU account has been compromised, immediately call us at (800) 649-0193. After hours, for debit or credit card fraud, please call (866) 570-1238. We can cancel compromised cards or change your account number if necessary.

Shop safely and have fun. Happy holidays!