The more Canadians buy online, the higher the risk of falling victim to online scams, especially around the holidays.
With new scams on the rise, leading global analytics company FICO is offering Canadians tips on how to protect themselves this shopping season.
FICO’s top four tips include:
Take Care at ATMs
Never approach an ATM if anyone is lingering nearby. This is rule number one for holiday shoppers.
It’s also important to not engage in conversations with others around an ATM. Remain in your automobile until other ATM users have left the ATM.
“If an ATM looks odd, or your card doesn’t enter the machine smoothly, consider going somewhere else for your cash,” said TJ Horan, vice president of Product Management, leading the fraud solutions business unit at FICO. “If your plastic card is captured inside of an ATM, call your card issuer immediately to report it. Sometimes you may think that your card was captured by the ATM, but it was later retrieved by a criminal who staged its capture.”
Either way, FICO encourages holiday shoppers to arrange for a replacement card as soon as possible.
Be Safe Online
Watch out for emails promising amazing bargains. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Rather than click on a link in an email or SMS, go to the site itself. Hackers can even spoof websites, so all holiday shoppers should make sure to shop on the actual site. If you experience anything odd on a website, look for another place to shop. If you’ve already paid and later become suspicious that you may have been tricked, let your bank know,” says Horan.
Additionally, if an online merchant offers enhanced security features such as step-up-authentication or soft token, FICO encourages shoppers to opt in.
“If you’re setting up a new account with a website, use a strong password you haven’t used before. If your online merchant offers enhanced security features such as step-up-authentication or soft token, please be sure to opt in,” Horan explains.
Check Your Purchases and Bulk Up on Security Features
Holiday shoppers should check their credit card transactions frequently, using online banking and their monthly statement.
“Update your address and cell phone information for every card you have, so that you can be reached if there is ever a critical situation that requires your immediate attention,” says Horan.
FICO also encourages all holiday shoppers to ask their card provider if they offer account alert technology. These technologies will deliver SMS text communications or emails to the consumer if fraudulent activity is suspected on your payment card, which can limit the damage if your information is stolen.
Watch Out for Social Engineering
FICO also warns all holiday shoppers to watch out for social engineering.
“If you get a call from someone who says they’re from your bank, and you feel suspicious, hang up and call your bank directly. Your bank will never ask you for your password. Criminals know people are worried about fraud in the holidays and may take this opportunity to try to get you to divulge information,” explained Horan. “The same principle applies to online payment requests. If you get a request to pay someone from your bank account, make sure that you know who you are paying and that their request is legitimate.”
Additionally, all Canadians should be wary of emails or texts that tell you that there has been a change of bank account number— if in doubt, pick up the phone and confirm that they have changed their bank account details.
Criminals are exploiting direct payments and Faster Payments by masquerading as people that holiday shoppers interact with, and if you make the payment you may be liable, according to Horan.
Getting Smarter in the Fight Against Fraud
The good news is that financial institutions are doing more than ever to prevent fraud, according to FICO.
“When a consumer is using your credit or debit card to pay online, they may be sent a one-time passcode to their mobile phone that they will need to enter into the browser window,” said Matt Cox, vice president of fraud solutions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “This extra security is a fraud prevention method intended to make sure that it’s really the consumer making the payment. While it may seem inconvenient, the consumer will be better protected if their card does fall into the hands of criminals.”
“FICO too is doing more than ever to help banks, card issuers, fintechs, merchants and others protect customers from fraud and financial crime,” notes Jason Keegan, vice president and general manager of the Fraud and Protection business at FICO.
“We have made continual AI and machine learning innovations available, which protect more than 2.6 billion accounts worldwide. Last Black Friday we sent 2.3 million fraud alerts to banking customers using our FICO® Customer Communication Services. And we recently announced new FICO® Authentication Suite and FICO® Identity Proofing solutions to better validate customer identities.”
If you are interested in learning more about FICO fraud solutions, more information is available here: https://www.fico.com/en/solutions/fraud-compliance-and-cybersecurity.
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