Stay Safe When Making Back-to-School Purchases

It’s back to school time! As you make purchases or prepare a new user for the responsibility of having their own credit card, now is the perfect time to review common financial risks. Stay safe and protect your financial future with these quick tips.

Secure your devices

When you purchase a new device, don’t forget to install firewalls, anti-virus software, and spyware protection. Make sure to complete this process before you begin logging in to your favorite websites and shopping for supplies. Set up strong passwords and update them regularly to help mitigate threats to your private information and keep accounts secure.

Download updates regularly

For mobile devices, install updates for apps as they become available. This can be set up to be automated to ensure you always have the most up to date and secure version. App developers are constantly working to improve their code and create secure digital platforms for their customers. But if you are not running the most up-to-date software, you may be putting yourself at risk for a hack.

Use a digital wallet

Set up your smartphone to pay for purchases using a digital wallet. Digital wallet apps provide encryption, as well as additional security measures such as specific authorizations. PayPal is a digital wallet platform that offers another option for credit card security. The PayPal platform functions as a go-between, so online retailers do not gain access to your credit card information directly.

Set up transaction alerts

Turn on transaction alerts to notify you when your card is being used. It is simple and easy to set up through your banking app, and you can customize the parameters. Transaction alerts are an excellent way to monitor purchases and identify fraudulent ones quickly.

Report fraud right away

If a credit card is lost or stolen or you are notified of a fraudulent purchase, contact the card issuer right away. The faster fraud is reported the quicker financial agencies can react to protect you. Freeze the card (without reporting the card lost or stolen) by calling customer service or via the app or website. This immediately stops further purchases until you can sort things out. Time is of the essence in cases of credit card fraud. The damage from credit card fraud can pile up quickly in a short period of time.

Find more information in an article by U.S. News and World Report on maintaining credit card security.

If you become the victim of a financial crime, recovery plans and resources are available at Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Stay safe!