Safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind this holiday season. During travel and shopping trips, it is important to not only protect your health—but your finances as well. Fraudulent activity is historically most common during the holidays. According to a Kensium consumer report, the first 20 days of November 2019 resulted in over 60,000 potential scams in the U.S.
As a result of the current COVID-19 circumstances, the majority of retail sales will be made through digital channels this season. Whether you are taking a masked trip to a store or buying gifts online, there are several ways you can protect your finances from fraudsters during your holiday shopping:
- Identify Imposters: Fraudsters often disguise themselves as trusted figures such as government officials, family members or a company you do business with. Refuse requests for money or personal information that you didn’t expect or initiate.
- Conduct Research: Type the company name in question into a search engine with words like “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes a similar situation to yours, such as, “IRS call.”
- Refuse Upfront Payments: Scammers may ask you to pay in advance for prizes or vacation packages. Chances are if you comply, they will run off with your money. Recently, checks from “Santa Claus” have been sent out to businesses. Once cashed, “Santa” requests for a portion of the money back, only for the victim to later find out the check is fraudulent. Lesson: Do not cash a check from an unknown source.
- Consider How You Pay: Most credit cards have fraud protection already built-in, but that is not the case for all payment methods. Wiring money is risky because it’s nearly impossible to reclaim your money once it is sent. Honest businesses generally will not require you to use this payment method.
- Double-Check: Before you pay for a gift online, verify the website is legitimate. Have you bought from them before? Do they have customer reviews? Does the website appear to be brand-new? Remember to check for misspellings or wrong domains within a link (for example, an address that should end in ".gov" ends in “.com" instead).
- Talk to Someone: Before you pay a fee or reveal personal information, talk to someone you trust. Fraudsters want you to make quick decisions. The best reaction to a potential threat is to slow down, research and consult a trusted colleague.
An easy way to increase your security in-store or online is to download the Mobile Wallet app. This tool replaces your card information with a token so it is never exposed. Get started by downloading the app for your device. Enter your card information, and activate your card. Simply hold your device up to the contactless symbol for in-store purchases.
Another security solution is the ability to control how, when and where your debit card is used. SecurLOCK Equip™ gives you full control to temporarily disable your card, restrict card usage to certain areas, block transactions occurring outside your area and receive alerts for card transactions.
According to Hopper’s Holiday Travel Confidence Report, 39% of people say they plan to travel during the holidays this year. However, an additional 21% have said they do not plan to travel, though in a typical year they would.
If you plan to travel this holiday season, review this list of travel tips to help protect yourself against potential fraudulent threats.
As a reminder, unless you initiated the contact, Enterprise will never request your personal information (e.g., account number, Social Security number, PIN, user ID or password) through email, U.S. mail, live or automated phone call, or text message. If you receive unusual calls or emails claiming to be from Enterprise and requesting your personal or account information, do not respond and contact us immediately at (833) 896-2850. If you call Enterprise, we may ask for information to verify your identity.
If you suspect or spot a scam, tell the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.