Just like wearing sunscreen won’t protect you from all sunburns, these tips aren’t going to prevent all fraud. But, they’ll give you a great layer of protection for keeping your personal finances from getting burnt.
Only connect to secure Wi-Fi networks
Places like coffee shops, restaurants, bars and airports usually offer free Wi-Fi networks for you to connect to. Hackers can break into these networks and see the activity of people using them. Never access your financial institution accounts or pay for anything with your debit/credit cards when you’re connected to them.
If you need to use a public Wi-Fi network, make sure to use websites that have “HTTPS” in the URL instead of only “HTTP.” The “S” stands for “secure” and means that your data is encrypted for more protection.
Make sure your smartphone is secure
What are the three things that you make sure you have before leaving your house? Your keys (or hotel key), wallet and smartphone should be the essentials you need while out and about in a new location.
Just think about all of the information that your smartphone stores. You access all of your social media apps from it. You login to mobile banking with it. You might even have important health information stored on your smartphone.
If you lose your smartphone and someone finds it, they can steal a lot of information if you don’t have security features in place.
To keep your smartphone and the information stored on it secure, first set up a unique PIN, password or biometrics login so whoever finds it can’t access it to begin with.
Make sure you are logging out of the apps you commonly use after you finish (Facebook, Mobile Banking, etc.). Set up a unique password or biometrics login so no one can access your personal information using these apps.
Use trusted financial institution ATMs
A lot of places that you visit on vacation may only accept cash for payment. You’ll probably find ATMs everywhere. But just remember that some ATMs are safer than others.
Generic looking ATMs that you might find in convenience stores, bars and other storefronts are more likely to get targeted by fraudsters. They usually install “readers” or “skimmers” on them to steal your card information and PIN.
To avoid having your card “skimmed,” make sure you use ATMs from trusted financial institutions. Better yet, avoid paying fees by using 30,000 free CO-OP Network ATMs across the country.
Find an ATM
Take control of your debit and credit cards
Your debit and credit cards are kind of like a lifeline while you’re on vacation. Keeping complete access to them will help you have the best time. Take control of your cards by downloading our free CardKey app. With CardKey installed on your phone, you can do the following things:
- Set up a travel notification to let us know that you are leaving town. Sometimes our card processors will shut down access for out-of-state activity.
- Lock/unlock your debit/credit cards when they’re not in use or if they are lost or stolen.
- Set up alerts to track spending and make sure that no one has access to your card information.
Are you someone who loses their debit/credit card often? Consider setting it up using a mobile payment app like Apple Pay or Google Pay for safe, contactless transactions at participating retailers.
Set up a mail hold with the USPS
Don’t let your bills, statements and loan offers pile up while you’re away. These documents contain lots of personal information that can be used for fraud.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) makes it easy to set up a mail hold on its website. You can hold your mail at your local post office for up to 30 days.
If you’re expecting packages at your house, make sure to track them and try to have a friend, family member or neighbor pick them up and keep them for you until you get back.
Save the social sharing for later
Those likes and comments on your social media feed sure are addictive. By all means, post your vacation photos and selfies – just make sure you do it when you get home.
Sharing your current location and travel itinerary while you’re out of town makes it easy for thieves to track where you are and set up their plans.
Plus, just imagine all of the likes, comments and shares you’ll get if you post everything at once! It’ll even be easier to go back to the post and see everything at once instead of scrolling and scrolling.
Contact us if you need help
Our Member Solutions Center is here to help you if you need it. We’re open Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until noon. You can contact us whichever way makes you feel the most comfortable:
- Call or text us at 314.962.6363.
- Start a Live Chat right here (bottom-right of the screen) or while logged into your Mobile Banking account.
- Download the Live Video Banking app directly to your smartphone to start a video chat with a representative.
If you lose your debit/credit card during non-business hours, please call 888.919.7744 or 866.820.3035.