5 Holiday Mobile Banking Security Tips

 protect your personal information from scammers

The holidays are upon us, the most magical – and sometimes hectic – season of all.

If you plan to search for and purchase gifts online, you’re not alone. Consumers are doing approximately 40% of their online shopping on their phone or tablet device.1

Sadly, fraudsters take full advantage of the holiday hustle-and-bustle. A 2020 Experian survey found 21% of shoppers experience fraud while shopping online during the holidays.

Don’t get your tinsel in a tangle though; there are simple things you can do to help protect your personal information from scammers. We have asked fraud expert Alex Cummings, Information Security Awareness Program Manager at SouthState, for holiday mobile banking tips to keep you fraud-free and jolly all season long.

Online Shopping is Safest at Home

With public Wi-Fi available virtually everywhere, many people are unaware that when connected to these networks their personal information can be at risk of being stolen. While public Wi-Fi has become increasingly popular, hackers have become knowledgeable about accessing these networks to steal valuable information like secure account logins and credit card numbers. As tempting as it may be to snag those shoes on sale while having a cup of coffee at a local cafe, you’re safer to wait until you get home to make the purchase.

If you absolutely must use public Wi-Fi for online shopping this holiday season, connecting to a secure virtual private network (VPN) can help protect your connection while doing your holiday shopping. A VPN creates a private network from a public internet connection, allowing your browsing actions and private information to go virtually undetected. Many VPN providers make it easy to set up a virtual private network on your device, you’ll just need to sign up and download a browser extension or VPN app on your device and follow the installation and setup procedures.

Credit Over Debit

Debit card transactions are safer than they’ve ever been thanks to contactless payments and chip and pin technology. However, using a credit card continues to be your safest option as they are a standalone line of credit and not linked to or associated with your bank account. Even with current secure technology, fraudsters still have the ability to steal your information. If a fraudster gets a hold of your credit card information, they don’t necessarily have access to your bank account whereas with a debit card they would.

In addition to added security, many credit cards offer rewards for using them. It’s no secret the holiday season is the most expensive season of all, so take advantage of your card’s perks and rack up those travel miles, cashback, or rewards points.

Set Up Account Alerts

With the holidays being such a fast-paced time of year, many people fall victim to third-party fraud, such as a compromised debit card, without realizing it until much later. By turning on account alerts, you can get transaction notifications for a variety of account activity such as purchase alerts, low balance alerts, failed login attempts, and more.2

Online banking tools are always helpful, but they are especially convenient around the holidays when your financial institution might have limited hours or unexpected delays/closings due to weather.

Be Wary of Current Holiday SMS and Email Scams

During the holiday season, fake delivery text messages and emails become increasingly popular. Consumers receive fraudulent messages stating their package cannot be delivered embedded with a link to a phony website. These websites often ask you to provide personal information allowing fraudsters to steal your passwords or use your personal information to create a fake identity.

Never click on a link in a text message or email you don’t trust. If there is ever any doubt, look for the legitimate website and contact the company to determine if the message you received was legitimate.

Don’t Store Sensitive Information on Your Phone

It seems like the whole world is going digital, but you should never store secure information such as security codes, passwords, or social security numbers on your phone – especially without password protection. Information stored freely in the address book or notes section of your phone can easily be obtained by hackers.

The holidays are a magical time of year, and it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this upcoming season. However, it’s important you don’t let your guard down when it comes to protecting your accounts and personal information.

If you’re traveling this holiday season, don’t forget to check out these Tips Cyber-Savvy Travelers Know. No matter where you’ll be spending the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ we’ve got additional tips for how to keep your information safe while you’re away from home.

About the Author: Alex Cummings is the Information Security Awareness Program Manager for SouthState, overseeing information security training and communication. He’s been with the bank for 5 years. He studied computer information systems at the University of South Carolina, where he started the Cyber Security Club and was recognized in several regional and national competitions.

1. 2022 Holiday Shopping Statistics & Trends - Blippr
2. Any alerts we send to you are provided as a convenience to you and/or for added security. We are not responsible for any failure to send, misdirection, or delay in sending any alerts, including any type of security alert, or for any failure or delay in your receipt of an alert or for any actions you take in response to an alert. We do not guarantee the delivery or accuracy of the contents of any alert. You agree that you will not rely exclusively on receiving alerts from us to monitor your account. Any alert we send to your cell phone number may be subject to third-party message and data fees.

  • This content is general in nature and provided for informational use only. Content may be used in connection with the advertising and marketing of products and services offered by SouthState Bank, N.A. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. This is not to be considered legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You should seek individualized advice from personal financial, legal, tax and/or other professionals, as appropriate depending on the specific facts of your situation. We do not make any warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of this information and have no liability for your use of this information.

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