Shopping is increasingly done online, and unfortunately fraud has followed suit. According to national credit reporting agency, TransUnion, suspected eCommerce fraud increased by 12 percent during the first month of the COVID pandemic. Luckily, we’re here to offer some helpful advice that can help protect you from becoming a victim.

More online transactions can make you more vulnerable to fraud

First, it’s important for consumers to understand who they are doing business with. Fraud can be blatant, such as bogus merchants that receive money from buyers but don’t deliver the product, but it can also involve legitimate businesses that has had their site compromised. While consumers do have protections available should such an event occur, it’s also worth taking preventative measures.

How to protect yourself

Fortunately, the key to combating fraud is already in your hands. Start by keeping these tips in mind while shopping online.

1. Stay vigilant

You are your own first line of defense, so make sure you’re paying attention. There are usually hints that a website is untrustworthy, like shoddy design or poor spelling. If you’re ever unsure of a website, you can check the site’s profile with the Better Business Bureau. You can also use their website to track and report scams.

2. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Experts warn that websites selling products available from other sites at a discount over 55% should be a red flag for consumers.

3. Freeze it

If you’re worried that someone has compromised your social security number or that you may have been the victim of a scam, you can temporarily freeze your credit in order to ensure no new accounts can be opened in your name. If you decide to open a new line of credit, you will have to unfreeze your credit temporarily.

3. Be alert

Financial institutions often offer the ability to set up transaction alerts and security alerts. If your institution does, take advantage of these useful reminders, as they may help prevent fraudulent transaction before they happen.

If you think you may have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you can request a copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com for review. You may have to pay to receive your actual credit score, but the contents of the report are available to you at no cost. This report includes information from all three credit reporting agencies. You can also place a credit bureau fraud alert on your credit. If an alert is active, creditors should take extra steps to verify your identity before granting a credit request. To issue an alert, you’ll need to contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion individually.

If you see suspicious activity or something doesn’t feel right when accessing your account online contact us right away. For more information visit
https://www.efirstbank.com/internet-banking/security-privacy.html.

Online shopping doesn’t have to mean putting yourself at risk for fraud. Follow these tips, check out the rest of our blog and learn more about our security features to keep yourself protected.

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