It’s hard not to notice that the holidays are almost here. Stores are putting up their decorations earlier than ever and the scent of pumpkin spice is all around.
This year, Black Friday falls on Nov. 27, followed by Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. This highly anticipated weekend is often viewed as the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement.
Unfortunately, scammers and thieves don’t take off for the holidays. That’s why it’s important to keep safety and security in mind, whether you’re shopping online or in person. Origin Bank is here with tips and tools to help keep the bad guys from dampening your holiday spirit.
When you’re inside stores, don’t get too distracted by festive decor or great deals. Even a quick glance at your “nice” list can give thieves the opportunity they’re looking for, so always keep your purse or wallet secure and be sure to take note of your surroundings.
If you’re shopping online, here are six quick tips for safety:
- Buy from secure websites only. It’s not the only thing to watch out for, but the URL for secure sites start with “https” instead of “http,” and a padlock icon should appear in the address bar.
- Never shop on a publicly accessible Wi-Fi network. It’s too easy for others logged on to steal your data.
- Change your passwords. Experts usually recommend every six months. And use a completely unique password for your financial accounts.
- Check for software updates on your laptops and mobile devices. They often have security upgrades, too.
- Be careful what you click. Texts and emails these days are swimming in phishing scams that try to trick you into typing in personal information. In some cases, simply opening these messages can install malware to your device. Never open a message unless you’re sure it’s safe.
- Use Origin’s debit alerts. We let you know of each transaction, making it easier to spot questionable activity and freeze your card if it becomes compromised. Download our mobile app to manage more security features, and our customer support is available around the clock if you need personal assistance.
Protecting your holiday budget is just as important, and the job is easier with a little planning. Making a list and checking it twice isn’t enough – you also have to stick to it. Not having a plan and last-minute purchases are two of the biggest factors for overspending. Avoid impulse buys that can lead to out-of-control spending.
There’s lots of research showing that big, one-day sales events don’t always offer better prices than regular holiday sales. Look for deals throughout the season, and always compare prices before you buy.
Using Origin’s Personal Financial Management tool helps take the worry out of holiday shopping. It’s free, built right into our mobile app and has a budgeting feature that keeps track of your spending.
At Origin we believe that safe holidays are always better. While some problems can’t be avoided, these simple, no-nonsense steps to protect yourself are easy and effective. Contact us for more ways to keep yourself protected.