Tips to Shop Safely this Holiday Season

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Holiday shopping is right around the corner. That means people may focus more on trying to find the best deal rather than on their safety. Whether you shop for holiday gifts at the mall or online, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your money.

When shopping at a “physical” store …

  • Be aware of your surroundings and keep your wallet, purse or phone in front of you, not in your back pocket.
  • Limit the amount of cash you carry. Consider making purchases with a credit card or debit card when possible. This will give you an extra level of protection in case of fraud.
  • Also, monitor your purchases and make sure that you keep an eye on your account balances. If you notice anything that seems like fraud or you are unsure about a transaction, contact your financial institution as soon as possible to avoid potential fraud issues.
  • Park your vehicle in a lighted area and never keep your purchases where they can be seen from outside the vehicle. Look inside and all around your vehicle before you enter it.

When shopping online …

  • Shop only on secure websites – the URL should contain a lock icon or begin with “https.”
  • Use strong passwords on all of your online account information, and don’t use the same password from one site to the next.
  • Only share the information required to purchase something online (typically fields with an asterisk). Never provide personal information like your birthday or Social Security number on a website, because when used together with your financial information, you will be vulnerable to fraud.
  • Shop at trusted stores or names – there are sales everywhere, so be smart when you shop.
  • Consider the use of a credit card when shopping online – that way, if fraud occurs, you minimize the risk to your available funds while the claim is being investigated.
  • Avoid “saving” passwords or financial information on any site. While it may be convenient to do so, it’s also easier for a hacker to access.
  • Check your statements regularly and let BancorpSouth know immediately if you notice an unauthorized charge from your debit or credit card.
  • Set up email and text alerts to your bank or credit accounts to notify you when transactions have cleared or when your balance falls below a certain threshold.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure you and your money stays safe throughout the holidays (and beyond).