Entry Image

Don’t let the F-word ruin this holiday season

By Rachel Scheuerman

I hope you were able to catch our recent webinar, “How to capture holiday spend in a pandemic”, but if not, you can view it here. During the webinar, Ondot’s Head of Product Solutions, Randy Piatt, along with a panel of industry experts, shared best practices for maintaining top-of-wallet status and capturing spend during the upcoming holiday season. As we embark on this joyous and festive time, it’s important to remember that along with food, friends and family (socially distanced of course) a not-so-happy F word comes into the picture as well: Fraud.

So, while you’re focused on capturing the holiday spend with your cardholders, I want to share some tips on fraud prevention; both from the lens of protecting your financial institution, as well as for yourself, as a consumer.

Recognize the shift in consumer behavior. With the ongoing pandemic, consumer shopping habits have changed and more transactions are being conducted online. I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself. Instead of dining in person at your favorite restaurant, you’re ordering from Door Dash for contactless delivery to your front door. And instead of a trip to the movie theater or grocery store, you are probably enjoying an evening of Netflix after your Instacart arrives. As we enter November, it’s clear these changes will also impact the holiday shopping season. Many stores, previously open on Thanksgiving evening and into the early morning hours of Black Friday, have announced they will be closed, and encourage shopping online. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, ecommerce sales are expected to grow 25% - 35%, year-over-year, during the 2020-2021 holiday season, making online shopping volumes the highest of all time. As your customers begin their gift buying online, you want to make it easy and secure for them to complete their purchases. When it’s time to check out, digital wallet payments (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) are key. Encourage customers to use their digital wallet as this tokenized method of payment is the most secure; and quick and easy.

Warn of phishing texts, emails and robocalling. You know those people who have their holiday shopping done in July? I am not one of them, in case you were wondering. But guess who else started prepping for the holidays in late-summer? Cybercriminals.

If you think you’ve overcommunicated the prevalence of phishing texts, emails and robocalling: I can assure you that you haven’t. This message is worthy of a constant reminder. It’s even more important during this holiday season, with the expected increases in ecommerce spending. In last year’s McAfee study, A Christmas Carol: Scam Edition, 41% of respondents reported being targeted with email phishing and 35% with text phishing. These scams, along with robocalling, are the top three prominent scams of the year. Remind customers of your financial institution’s methods and channels of communication, so that they are able to quickly identify false information. Ask customers to pay close attention to the email sender and website to verify authenticity. Recommend tools available to block robocalls. Partner with your technology team or seek help from external experts for an all-inclusive list, and communicate with your customers early and often.

Promote digital self-service protection features. Take every opportunity to remind your customers of the tools available to them to view, understand and protect their financial accounts. Encourage the use of online and mobile banking, promote card on/off features, the ability to report a card lost or stolen, manage travel plans, or to set preferences or alerts for added transaction security. Take advantage of areas where your customers can self-serve, which enables your front-line and support staff to service other needs. And, in the event a customer does need to call, email or visit – make sure they can easily locate the necessary contact information and resolve their need or issue quickly.

To wrap this up with a beautiful holiday bow; I hope you find these tips helpful and I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. If I can be of any help to you and your financial institution, don’t hesitate to reach out.