Mari Andera, BSA Coordinator / Customer Service Representative (left) and 
Alicia Norem, Lead Customer Service Representative / Compliance Coordinator

United Community Bank
Safe Online Holiday Shopping Tips

At United Community Bank, we strive to protect our customers and communities. With the holiday shopping season here, it’s a good time for a reminder of phishing and other identity theft scams. Mari Andera and Alicia Norem, offer tips to keep you safe and avoid becoming victimized.

  • DO use a credit card - To keep your checking and savings accounts secure, use a credit card when shopping online. Many major credit cards offer zero liability for fraud and will alert you to suspicious charges. If you use a debit card, you could give a cybercriminal access to your bank accounts.
  • DON’T click on suspicious links - If you receive an email or text message that, at a glance, appears to be from a legitimate company, hover your mouse over the hyperlinks to see if it includes a valid URL for that company. Scan the email for spelling and grammar mistakes. Look at the sender’s email address to see if it matches the company’s website domain. If you suspect it might be a phishing scam, delete it immediately.
  • DO make sure the site you’re using is secure - Submitting information, like credit card info on a site that is not secure, increases the likelihood that a cybercriminal will gain access to it. When shopping online, check the URL in your browser to make sure the site you’re using is secure. Google Chrome and Firefox will show a locked padlock on secure sites. If you’re using Internet Explorer, check that the URL starts with https rather than http.
  • DON’T open attachments - Phishing emails may contain attachments and opening these could result in downloading malware on your computer. Legitimate retailers don’t force you to open attachments to see a deal. If an email directs you to open an attachment, it’s best to assume it’s a scam.
  • DO change up your passwords - If you do a lot of online shopping with multiple retailers, have a different password for every site. If you don’t, and a cybercriminal obtains your password on one site, they will gain access to all of your accounts.
  • DON’T use public Wi-Fi - When making purchases online, it’s best to use a private Wi-Fi network rather than a public one to limit access.
  • DO monitor your bank and credit card accounts - Even if you are careful, it is still important to check your bank and credit card accounts regularly for any suspicious charges. If one is detected, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately.