The holidays are just around the corner and holiday shopping is already in full swing. Masses are already scrounging online and offline for the perfect stocking stuffers, not to mention the shoppers eagerly awaiting the early morning sales of Black Friday. Whether you’re out and about in department store aisles or scrolling through online retailers, protect yourself while doing your holiday shopping.
Credit cards have become a mainstream form of payment since the 1950’s (swipe now, pay later). But even the credit financial system has its flaws and over the years, technology advancements have improved security protocols and infrastructure against fraud. Now fast-forward to the modern day. The advent of NFC, or Near-Field Communication, has facilitated the development of contactless payments, which Apple and Google exploited into Apple Pay and Android Pay. Now even to the extent of their digital wallet services, consumers must continue to safeguard their financial identity against theft that can compromise their personal data and bank accounts.
Here are a few steps you can take to thwart the possibility of being an identity theft victim.
Always enable tracking services for your device.
Apple’s Find My Phone and Android’s Device Manager not only can track a lost device, but they can suspend their digital wallet services. It beats calling every single credit card company in a lost wallet full of cards.
Use the fingerprint scanner at NFC terminals.
Department stores are bound to be crawling with shoppers with prying eyes. If your device has a fingerprint scanner, opt with that feature over alphanumerical and pattern inputs. The chances of finding another person with the same fingerprint pattern are about one in 64 million. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than finding someone else with an identical fingerprint.
Use your phone’s data plan.
A transaction over your data plan has better encryption than using a store’s unsecured Wifi. Unlike loading a Youtube clip in glorious 4K with your LTE, digital wallet transactions don’t consume a large chunk of your data plan. Unsecured public Wifi networks are prone to hackers breaching the security of your device and stealing your information. If you are always data conscious, plan ahead over the holidays and bump your plan up ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry while out and about.
Use low-limit credit cards.
Low-limit credit cards cap out your risk of loss in case of a fraudulent transaction. Avoid registering credit cards with a high credit limit.
Avoid biting on phishing emails.
Suspicious Phishing emails are often present this time of year and sent in the guise of holiday sale mail. Before sending out any information into the world wide web, always ensure that the website of the online merchant begins with an ‘https’ prefix on their URL. The secured page contains a dynamic encryption that securely processes your transaction with a lower risk of digital intrusion.
Beware of Fake Retail Apps.
Every holiday season hundreds of look-a-like apps flood into the app stores. Through the use of online retailer shopping apps to product-specific apps, scammers are out in full force this season. Their main agenda is to deceive the unsuspecting into installing an app that they thought was there to help their holiday shopping. Many of these apps are relatively harmless and only serve annoying pop-up ads, but being duped into entering your contact or credit card information into a fraudulent app could be very costly. Taking every precaution before downloading an app is a must. Before installing an app look at the reviews and app developer to make sure they match and have a good rating. You can also find many apps on main retailer brand websites and follow credible links to the app download area.
For more information about safe shopping tips or for help with using Apple or Android Pay, visit a GoWireless store near you and our store associates will be happy to assist you. Stay safe this holiday season and happy shopping!