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Shop Safer and Smarter this Holiday Season

HOUSTON, Nov. 12, 2015 — The holidays are a busy time full of parties, travel, entertaining and, of course, shopping. And amidst the bustle of the holiday season, fraudsters are looking to cash in on unsuspecting victims.

“As you continue your holiday online shopping, it’s important to reassess the dangers you face,” says Karen Adams, retail executive for Cadence Bank. “Having the right security measures in place and knowing the consequences of your actions can help ensure fraudsters don’t put a damper your holiday cheer.”

This is especially crucial as Americans plan to conduct nearly half of their holiday shopping online this year, according to the National Retail Federation’s latest survey, and one in five smartphone owners will use their phones to purchase holiday merchandise.

While you can’t completely prevent identity theft, there are a number of ways you can significantly reduce your risk. Here are some tips to help you shop safely online this holiday season:
  • Ensure a clean machine. Any device you use to shop online, including smartphones and tablets, should have the most up-to-date operating system, firewall solution, and security software with anti-virus and anti-spam protection. If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Criminals lure shoppers with websites that look legitimate and offer unbelievably low prices. Be leery of these types of communications, especially when they urge you to act immediately. This includes emails that indicate a problem with your order or payment and provide a link to view the website.
  • Beware what you share. Consider the type of personal information being collected to complete the transaction and fill out only the required fields, nothing more. Take time to review the company’s privacy policy to understand how your information will be used and stored.
  • Be WiFi savvy. You may choose to use your smartphone for online transactions, but never share personal or financial information over an unsecured wireless network (one that doesn’t require a password to connect). Using direct web access via your mobile device is safer than an unsecured network.
  • Always verify the legitimacy of the site. Look for the “closed lock” icon on the status bar of your Internet browser, which means encryption is being used on the webpage you’re viewing and the information you transmit is secure. Also, make sure “https://” is listed at the beginning of each web address page. The “s” verifies the security of the site.
  • Use a credit card versus a debit card when making online purchases for a safer payment option. Credit cards have added protection through the Fair Credit Billing Act in case you encounter a problem, and are less vulnerable because they aren’t directly linked to your bank account.
  • Watch for fake delivery notices. Criminals take advantage of unsuspecting victims by sending emails that appear to be from legitimate delivery carriers and include a link to a delivery alert. When clicked, this can download malware onto your computer. Only use the tracking numbers provided to you in the initial email sent from the merchant after making your online purchase. Or visit the merchant’s website to track any packages you are expecting.
  • Maintain a paper trail. Keep thorough records of your online transactions, including online receipt, product description, price, terms of sale and all email correspondence with the seller. Be sure to check your bank and credit card statements upon receipt and report any discrepancies immediately.
  • Keep a close eye on your debit and credit card activity. With higher transaction volume this time of year, it’s possible to overlook fraudulent charges. Consider enrolling in mobile banking so you can monitor your accounts on the go, and sign up for text alerts for your debit and credit cards to receive notifications on your account activity.

Incorporate these tips into your holiday shopping experience to help safeguard your identity and financial information this season.

For more useful information about protecting yourself from fraud, visit Cadence Bank’s Fraud Information Center at

About Cadence Bank

Cadence Bank, N.A., based in Birmingham, Ala., is a $5.7 billion bank with more than 100 locations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Backed by 126 years of financial expertise, Cadence serves commercial and consumer clients with a full range of innovative banking and financial solutions designed to keep pace with their lives. These products and services include commercial and consumer banking, small business banking, treasury management, international banking, specialized lending, commercial real estate, wealth management, investment and trust services, financial planning, retirement plan management, business and personal insurance, consumer loans, mortgages, home equity lines and loans, and credit cards. Cadence Bank and its affiliates, Linscomb & Williams and Cadence Insurance Agency, are wholly owned subsidiaries of Houston-based Cadence Bancorp, LLC. Additional information about Cadence Bank is available at Cadence Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.

Contact Information: 

Danielle Kernell

Cadence Bank, N.A.
713-871-4051 direct | 713-392-7709 mobile

[email protected]

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