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Last year Americans shopped online in record numbers. According to the National Retail Federation, a record 190 million Americans shopped online representing a 14% increase from the previous year. As we increasingly spurn retail experiences for the convenience of one-click orders, one of the biggest concerns on people's minds is online fraud. From fake digital ads to phishing, a recent study said the total cost of fraud in 2020 would exceed $7 billion with 22% of cases costing more than $1 million.
Unless you plan to turn back the clock and shop exclusively at local stores this year, we all need to be more aware of digital fraud. Here's a quick list of ways you can protect yourself moving forward.
1. Don't click email links. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book. The bad guys send a 'phishing email' that looks like it comes from a name brand. When you click on the link, it takes you to a fake portal that looks like the brand's website and asks for your credit card information. Don't be fooled. And don't click the email link.
2. Avoid Pop-Up Ads. Malvertising is malicious advertising that often takes the form of pop-up ads. Similar to erroneous email links, these pop-up ads can lead you to sites that ask for personal information and credit card numbers. They can also infect your device with malware and make the season anything but joyful.
3. Don't shop on public Wi-Fi networks. If you're shopping online, do it at home using your own private, secure network. With so many cybercriminals lurking during the holiday shopping season, you don't want to input passwords and visit your bank account on a public Wi-Fi network.
4. Beware of sales that are too good to be true. If a sale seems too good to be true, it likely is. When making purchases online, verify the site is secure. Does the web address start with https://? Also, is the site accurate? Always go directly to the company's actual website. It it's a real sale, you'll find it there. According to a recent Experian ID theft study, 43% of holiday shopping ID theft occurs online - 16% of which was on Cyber Monday.
5. Keep track of your cards. It sounds simple but every year millions of people lose their credit cards. Left behind, lost, and stolen cards are quickly used to make fraudulent purchases - often before you even realize the card is missing!
6. Verify your contact information. Umpqua fraud alerts are delivered via phone (voice), text, and/or email. Having up to date information is critical for us to help you keep your account secure.
7. Review your account activity regularly. Regular monitoring of account activity can help prevent additional fraud from occurring. Bank regulations help protect you from taking a loss due to fraudulent activity - but only if you report it in a timely manner. Use online banking to review your account activity, set up security preferences, and alerts. The Umpqua Pay app can alert you to transactions using your debit card the moment they occur.
8. Travel safely. When you travel, use the Umpqua Pay geolocation setting to correlate your debit card usage to your mobile device. This will help prevent legitimate transactions from flagging as fraud when you are traveling. Also, you can enter your travel plans directly into the Umpqua Pay app for additional security.
9. Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Call and text spoofing happen every day. If you receive a call or text from your bank or utility company and they are asking for information, its ok to hang up or not reply and call back on the legitimate published number to confirm the validity of the call.
10. Do not share login IDs, passwords, or secure access codes. Ever. If you receive a call, email, or text from someone claiming to represent your bank, or another company, do not give them your user ID or password. No legitimate company will ever ask you for this information.
Umpqua's Go-To can help protect against fraud
If you think there may be some fraudulent activity happening with your bank account or credit cards, Umpqua's Go-To financial experts can help. Go-To connects you with a dedicated banker of your choice for help with everything from balancing your budget to protecting you against fraud. Just download the Go-To app, pick your bank person and let us know how we can help.