Prepare yourselves for doorbusters, big ticket items and markdowns, shopping carts full of toys, name brands and crowded stores. It’s Black Friday. A day where the gift buying season is officially underway.
And because we live in a digital world, the encore to Black Friday is the digital menagerie known as Cyber Monday. Throw in Small Business Saturday for good measure and you’re looking at an extended weekend of binge spending.
In fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects sales during November and December of 2015 to increase 3.7 percent – that’s $630.5 billion – a significantly higher number than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent.
In addition, according to NRF, online sales are expected to increase between six and eight percent.
With the holiday season representing approximately 19 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales, it’s safe to believe that where there’s money being spent by consumers, there’s thieves looking to strike while the transactions are hot.
At Diebold, we want to make sure everyone has a holiday season full of joy — free of stolen PINs, skimmed data or stolen information. So whether it’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday or just any other day, here are three safety tips to keep your money and identity safe this holiday season.
- Awareness is key at the ATM.
It doesn’t take much for someone to shoulder surf your PIN. It takes some basic awareness of your transaction to keep the holiday season a merry one – and not full of missing funds, stolen PINs and lost data. While there are a variety of counter measures in place at ATMs — like our ActivEdge card reader which prevents all known forms of skimming — you still need to be alert when approaching, using and leaving the ATM. Here are some basic ATM safety tips.
Be aware of your location:
- Choose an ATM that is located inside or in a well-lighted location
- Avoid using an ATM at the corner of the building — corners create a blind spot
- Familiarize yourself with your ATM — look for signs of tampering
- Avoid using ATMs at night unless it is necessary
- Leave immediately if you see anyone acting suspicious
Be aware of your information:
- Have your card ready when you appear at the ATM
- Commit your PIN to memory – Never share your PIN or write it down
- Wait until you leave the ATM to count your money
- Withdraw only the amount of cash you need
- Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location
- Immediately report a lost or stolen card
Be aware of your surroundings:
- Use ATMs with security cameras and inside businesses — they are less likely to attract criminal activity
- Wait until previous customers have finished their transactions before approaching the ATM
- Stand as close as possible to the ATM throughout your entire transaction
- Use your mirrors – Most ATMs have consumer-awareness mirrors so you can see behind you
- Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad
- Make sure you leave with your card, money and receipt – leave nothing behind
Be aware while at the Drive-Up ATM:
- Pull your vehicle as close as you can to the ATM
- Look for signs of tampering on the ATM
- Keep your vehicle running while at the ATM
- Remain in your vehicle throughout the transaction
- Check to make sure you received all your items (cash, card and receipt) before driving away
- Have a watchful eye while online.
In addition to protecting your information at the ATM, you need to be mindful of potential cyber threats while purchasing items online. Here are tips to keep in mind while finding the perfect deal online.
- Make sure all your devices — computers, phones and tablets — are updated with the latest software
- Use only one credit card for all your online transactions — makes all transactions easier to track
- Buy only from trusted websites
- Use only secured networks — never share your information over an unsecure Wi-Fi connection
- Check to make sure the website you are purchasing from has an “https” in its URL address
- Avoid any links sent via email or social media if it seems suspicious
- Use online retailers who required you to sign in before checking out — it’s an added layer of protection
- Only fill out the required information when checking out
- Use credit cards when paying online — NEVER send cash by mail or money-wire
- Save all records of your online transactions
- Mobile payments require crucial safety measures.
You want to ensure a secure mobile payment with common sense techniques that can protect your device, and more importantly your data, when making a purchase on a mobile platform.
- Download your apps from trusted stores — Apple App Store and Google Play are preferred
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware software on all your devices
- Make sure your device is password protected — lock specific apps within your device too
- NEVER send information over a public Wi-Fi network — use your cellular data
- Use apps with two-factor authentication whenever possible
- Like your PIN, NEVER store sensitive information on your phone
- Create a separate email address to use for mobile pay only
- Update your mobile device privacy settings
By following these tips — awareness is key at the ATM, have a watchful eye while online and mobile payments require crucial safety measures — you can feel safe while you withdrawal cash at the ATM, make a purchase online or use the latest payment options.