As the seasons change and new routines begin, many consumers will turn their spending towards the holiday season.  Whether online shopping or purchasing in-store, it is important to keep your card information secure.  Do you know what credit card fraud looks like and how to safeguard your information? Consider these reminders as you approach the holiday season:

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Research and Verify the Merchant – As you’re shopping across many different platforms this holiday season, verify you know the merchant you’re purchasing from is real.  When browsing on a merchant’s website or scrolling through social media, be careful when clicking on advertisements for deals that may seem too good to be true.  Fraudulent sites will often pose as a well-known retailer enticing consumers to click and purchase from a fake website that looks like the real thing.

To verify you’re purchasing directly from the merchant, look at the web page’s address to validate that everything is spelled correctly, no words are interrupted by symbols, etc.  Additionally, a secure URL should begin with “https”.  The “s” stands for secure and indicates that the site is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate. This is verification that any activity (communication and data) is encrypted when it passes from your browser to the website’s server.

Purchase securely with a Digital Wallet –  Online and in-store shopping can be done efficiently and securely by utilizing a digital wallet with a compatible device. Leave your credit card in your wallet and pay confidently knowing that your card information has been encrypted.  This means that your card numbers are not transmitted when completing a translation; rather, digital wallets utilize random payment codes that cannot be used again.  As a plus, full card numbers are not displayed within digital wallets; thus, no one can gain access to your credit card information digitally or from being in the vicinity.

Arvest Visa® credit card customers can simply download Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay, then make purchases on the go at more than a million stores or in participating apps.

Be Mindful of Verification Texts – Scammers may use texts to pretend to be a credit card issuer to verify your identity and use your credit card information to impersonate  you. Instead of responding to the text, reach out to your card provider and ask if there are issues with your account. This way you can confirm if the text message you received was legitimate.  It is also a best practice to review the text for misspelled words, a sense of urgency to get you to take action, or a link that is shortened or scrambled.  These may be signs to tip you off that the text is fraudulent. In any request for personal information, whether through text, phone, email or another form of communication – it is always encouraged to go to the source before giving out private information.

Using Public Wi-Fi for Online Transactions – When completing a transaction on public Wi-Fi, you are more susceptible to your information, such as bank accounts or credit card numbers, being stolen. Since public networks are often not encrypted, it is best to make purchases on a secure network. Consider utilizing a VPN, a virtual private network, to help secure your information from hackers.

Track Your Account Your Way – Don’t let your guard down when it comes to your personal and financial safety throughout the holiday season. When using your credit card at an unfamiliar gas pump while traveling or trying a new grocery store, be sure you check for skimming devices before you insert your card. Contactless Debit and Credit Cards provide a cleaner and safer, touchless way to check out that’s also fast, easy and completely secure. Contactless allows you to pay without the fear of lingering skimming devices.

Also, opt to use your credit card to make purchases over debit cards or cash. Most credit cards include zero fraud liability policies that protect you from paying for fraudulent purchases charged to your account.  Set up purchase alerts like Visa® Purchase Alerts that provide near real-time updates on your Visa® credit card activity.

Enjoying the holiday season should be free from fraudulent concerns!  Verify your information is secure and remain vigilant when making purchases this holiday season. Arvest Visa Signature® Card customers, view your Guide to Benefits here.  All other Arvest Personal Credit Card Customers can view your Guide to Benefits here.

Messaging and data charges may apply. Please see your wireless carrier for details. Apple Pay is a trademark of Apple, Inc. Google Pay is a trademark of Google LLC. Samsung Pay is a trademark of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.