SAN FRANCISCO - November 23, 2010
Before one of the busiest shopping times of the year, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) offers tips to help consumers shop safely – whether online, on a mobile device, or at a store.
"During the holiday season, especially, people need to know what to look out for and how to properly protect themselves," said Lisa H. Robinson, senior vice president, Head of Risk Management, Wells Fargo Internet Services Group. "By taking simple precautions, shoppers can reap significant benefits when it comes to fraud prevention."
Before heading out the door or logging on to your favorite web sites, review these tips:
- Monitor purchase activity: Remember to review your account activity regularly, especially when you're busy shopping for the holidays. Enroll in mobile banking so you can view a snapshot of your accounts while on the go and monitor your purchase activity online from home. Also sign up for transaction alerts for your checking account, debit card, and credit card to receive text or e-mail notification about account activity.
- Don't over-share on social websites: During this holiday season, when using the internet for keeping in touch with friends and family as well as for making purchases, remember not to "over-share." While social media websites may encourage you to share private information, avoid sharing full birthdates, place of birth, pet’s name, children’s names, or names of schools attended, especially if this information is used as a clue to account passwords or security questions. Never share your mother’s maiden name, Social Security number, bank account numbers, or usernames and passwords for any account including e-mail accounts. You'll also want to keep your phone number and home address private. All this information could be collected and used by fraudsters to attempt illegal activity in your name.
- Be careful what you disclose: Be wary of special holiday offers or requests for personal or financial information via e-mail, text message, phone, or web site for interactions you didn’t initiate. If you’re suspicious about a request for your information, verify that the request is legitimate by calling the number on the company’s website or billing statement.
- Protect your computers from malware with regular anti-virus updates: Updating anti-virus software on your computer is the first step toward protecting yourself. Remember not to download suspicious attachments or plug-ins. When making purchases, be sure the website address starts with “https.” The “s” helps ensure that your information will be passed along in a secure manner.
- Take the paperless route with online banking: The 2010 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research showed that some fraudsters continue to access personal and financial information the old-fashioned way—by stealing bank or credit card statements from the mailbox. Reduce your risk of stolen mail by retrieving mail promptly and switching to online statements.
- Ensure you're protected in case of theft: Check with your financial institution to ensure you’re covered if funds are removed from your account. Wells Fargo guarantees that its retail customers will be covered for 100 percent of the funds in their Wells Fargo account in the unlikely event that someone you haven’t authorized removes those funds through Wells Fargo Online, wf.com, or via downloadable app. Customers are responsible for protecting their password and account information and for providing prompt notification of an unauthorized transaction. Customers can visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/online/guarantee to learn how our guarantee works. Wells Fargo cardholder customers should rest assured that they are protected by Zero Liability. This provides our cardholders with Zero Liability for unauthorized transactions if their card is ever lost, stolen or used without their authorization and the cardholder provides us with prompt notification.
“We encourage our customers to take advantage of Wells Fargo’s tools and services, such as alerts, mobile banking, and online banking, to monitor their accounts the way they want,” said Robinson. “No matter how people choose to shop, keep these tips in mind to help safeguard your information.”
Wells Fargo's Fraud Information Center (https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/fraud/), located on Wells Fargo’s public web site, provides fraud prevention tips so customers can learn more about how to protect their personal and financial information.
Wells Fargo also provides consumers with quick and easy access to online educational tools and resources through its Financial Education Center (https://www.wellsfargo.com/financial-education/index).
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With more than 278,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked #19 on Fortune’s 2009 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.