"Banks Never Ask That", plus: Holiday Shopping Tips/Precautions

"Banks Never Ask That", plus: Holiday Shopping Tips/Precautions

The following is from a local weekly newspaper article: "Did you know that Americans lost $5.8 billion to phishing scams and other fraud in 2021?  ...To help combat the toll that phishing is taking on consumers, ... the American Bankers Association [is promoting] an industry-wide consumer awareness campaign called #BanksNeverAskThat. Using humorous and engaging videos social media post and other material, the #BanksNeverAskThat campaign seeks to turn the table on fraudsters by empowering consumers to spot bogus bank phishing scams.
One of the campaign's animated GIFs asks social media users personal questions that banks would never ask. Here's a common phishing question a bank would never ask: "We've spotted some unusual activity on your account, can you please verify your username and password?"
For more information about phishing scams and how to stop fraudsters in their tracks, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com

I highly recommend watching the entertaining-with-a-message videos.

Here's some Holiday shopping tips/precautions from SDM Foundation's newsletter:
Online Shopping can be overwhelming, but is very convenient and useful when done correctly.

Which websites to use, how to be safe, how to navigate and understand the listings, and payment methods are all important aspects of online shopping.

Which Websites to Shop On

Using known, reputable websites is one of the best ways to stay safe. Check reviews for a site you don't know. Look at return policies and shipping costs.

Some examples of websites that are well known and typically hassle free are:

  • Amazon
  • Major chain/company such as Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Staples etc.
  • NewEgg
  • Microcenter
  • Etsy
  • CarFax, Carvana, Autotrader

Item Comparison

It is important when shopping online to look on competitors sites in order to get the best price. Make sure you are comparing the same item.

Model numbers are helpful to confirm that items on different websites are the same product.

It is important not to fall for scam websites. One clue might be that they offer products at ridiculously low prices. Typically this is too good to be true, or there are more strings attached. Check!

Some websites and chains are a little more expensive, but usually have better customer service if things go wrong.

Payment Methods

There are multiple ways to safely make payments online.

Most websites give you the option of using Credit/Debit cards or some sort of third party payment option such as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, or Apple pay.

Some will give you the option to use Zelle, Venmo, or Cash App as well.

It is important to trust the website before entering any personal billing information.

PayPal and any of the pay wallets are typically more secure, as they protect the billing information that has been input into their websites when on external sites. They transfer money to the seller, but not the billing information itself.

Putting Credit Card info into a trusted website is secure and shouldn’t be an issue. Checking for the lock icon in the address bar can also indicate if a website has some level of security.

Most credit cards allow users to dispute a fraudulent charge. Debit cards often do not have this service. [Therefore it's best NOT to use debit cards for online purchases -JR]

The best way to assure your card’s security is to keep a close eye on the transactions. If anything seems out of the ordinary or fraudulent, contact the bank immediately. The sooner these things are contested, the better chance they will be resolved.

Zelle, Venmo, and Cash app are great options to use when purchasing through smaller websites or person to person transactions. They offer a bit more protection than cash or checks. PayPal is also a good option for that.

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