TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the holidays approach, GTE Financial has some tips on avoiding banking fraud, including identity theft, debit and credit card fraud, computer intrusion and check fraud. These types of fraud, always a concern, occur most frequently prior to and during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
"As we near the holidays, it becomes increasingly important to monitor your finances and protect yourself from fraud," says Mark Napolitano, Fraud Protection and Investigations Manager at GTE Financial. "We're seeing attacks move online, so not only must you be careful about your credit cards, checks and tangible belongings, but you should also be conscious of attacks that take place through email, on mobile devices and through your computer. And with holiday shopping starting earlier every year, there's an even larger window of opportunity for those engaged in these types of fraud."
Napolitano says that while Europe and Canada have adopted the EVM (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) chip technology, which is more secure than our current magnetic strip technology, the United States has not yet followed suit. He adds that criminals are now probably focusing more on the U.S. and this may account for the increase in the number of fraud and security cases being reported.
He suggests that consumers take the following precautionary measures now to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
- Don't give your personal information over the phone or internet unless you initiated the conversation or contact.
- Keep passwords somewhere secure, and never write them down near your computer.
- Never write your Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your debit card or a piece of paper in your purse or wallet.
- Set antivirus programs to update automatically on all in-home computers.
- Check your bank accounts daily and credit card statements as frequently as possible for any transactions that seem unfamiliar.
"There's much less need to worry about fraud if you choose to be proactive instead of reactive," Napolitano says. "Online and mobile banking, as well as in-person banking, can be very safe. As long as you take the necessary precautions, you should not need to be concerned about security issues."
About GTE Financial:
GTE Financial is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than $1.6 billion in assets and 21 Community Financial Centers located throughout West Central Florida. Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial is locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area, serving more than 200,000 individuals and businesses. More information on GTE Financial can be found at www.gtefinancial.org.
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