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Cyber Monday Kicks off Holiday Shopping Season

The first Monday following the US Thanksgiving holiday has become known as “Cyber Monday”; a day in which online retailers promote heavy discounts on merchandise to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Cyberspace will be reeling with special offers enticing consumers to buy their products or services and get a jump start on the countdown to Christmas. Many retailers use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to offer preferred savings or pre-announce deals to their fans. Consumers not only get offers directly from retailers but also from coupon aggregators and discount outlets offering a host of ways to take advantage of seasonal savings. While the majority of sites are legitimate, consumers need to be mindful that there are ‘fraudulent elves’ lurking in the distance ready to snap up credit, debit  or pre-paid information from a bogus site claiming to be the big store chain or the speciality retailer.  It’s this type of activity that puts the retailer, the consumer and their issuing financial institution in jeopardy.

Consumers should pay close attention to the offers they receive. Getting re-directed to a fraudulently engineered website from phishing or SMiShing attempt can put your personal data and finances at risk. Pay close attention to company logos, graphics and other key elements of the offer or website page. If something seems out of place (misspelled words, missing punctuation, an offer to good to be true, etc.) contact the company directly. Also, legitimate business will not ask you to provide bank account passwords. 

To prevent these types of attempts, banks and retailers employ fraud detection solutions which monitor transactional activity. A comprehensive fraud management solution uses both real-time and near real-time monitoring of monetary and non-monetary activities to ensure fraud can be detected and stopped in its earliest attempt. Current and historical transaction data is analyzed to create a baseline and a comprehensive view of the account profile. Also widely used, analytics utilize scoring methods to assess risk, reduce fraud and limit the impact on account holders. These types of tools allow financial institutions, retailers, and card issuers the ability to react quickly to emerging fraud. 

As the song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well, it can be if you take heed and be smart. Happy holidays and happy (safe) shopping!

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