Cyber Monday Tips for the Best Savings

Wednesday, November 21 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

After a few days of food, family and football, Cyber Monday caps off the long Thanksgiving weekend. Grab your computer and wish list and check out these tips for making the most of your paycheck this holiday shopping season.

Start With a List

Before you begin typing anything into a search engine or browsing your favorite online retail catalogs, be sure to make a list of what you are looking for. Even the most seasoned shopper can get carried away with the surplus of deals and the frenzy of the hunt. Before too long, the online shopping cart may be overflowing with frivolous, unnecessary purchases.

Avoid the over-spending trap by knowing ahead of time what you plan to buy and where you plan to shop.  Money Crashers* even suggests bookmarking your favorite retailer’s websites prior to the big day. If you organize the bookmarks in a folder, and stick to those sites, you will be less tempted to stray from your list or impulse buy.

Enhance Savings

The money-saving opportunities on Cyber Monday are already extensive, but if you sign up for an Arvest Consumer Credit Card you could earn up to $100 in additional rewards points. After you sign up, continue to use your new card on everyday purchases to earn even more rewards to redeem later.

In addition to credit card rewards, Overstock* recommends looking for coupons and promo codes ahead of time. Your favorite retailers may even send coupons via email or text message in the days leading up to Cyber Monday. Put those promo codes to use and make your purchases even more affordable.

Strategize your Time

Make sure to do plenty of research before picking a website to start scanning. Most retailers host sales at varying times and stagger discounts. If you plan ahead and decide which websites to scour first, you will not miss out on any great deals.

MoneyTips* encourages shoppers to be aware of limited time offers—especially those offered early in the morning. Being mindful of when the best deals will be offered, and spending a little extra time planning accordingly will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.

Double-Check Deals

Pay attention to product prices in the days leading up to Cyber Monday, and familiarize yourself with normal retail prices. This will help to distinguish between a truly great deal and a rip-off. According to Retail Wire*, a few years ago Amazon initially lowered their prices for Black Friday, but raised them again for Cyber Monday. Be a savvy shopper and train yourself to recognize true bargains. Plus, remember to use your credit card at checkout to earn rewards on almost every purchase.

Additionally, The Balance Everyday* reminds customers to factor in shipping costs when ordering online. Even though the items in your online cart may seem like a great deal, the cost for shipping could elevate the price. If you want to avoid unexpected expenses, opt to shop exclusively on websites that offer free shipping.

The views of this article are for general information use only. Please contact and speak with a subject expert or your banker when specific advice is needed.

*Link is a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

 

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education
 

Don’t Let Scammers Scrooge Your Holiday

Tuesday, October 10 at 01:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance
Shoppers looking for a good deal this holiday season should also be aware of increasingly aggressive and creative scams designed by criminals to steal money and personal information. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2016 Internet Crime Report, the IC3 received a total of 298,728 complaints with reported losses in excess of $1.3 billion in 2016.  This past year, the top three crime types reported by victims were non-payment and non-delivery, personal data breaches, and payment scams. The FBI wants shoppers to be extra vigilant of the following schemes and red flags.
 
Online Shopping Scams: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of unfamiliar sites offering unrealistic discounts on brand name merchandise or gift cards as an incentive to purchase a product, as you may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity. In addition, do not open any unsolicited e-mails or click on the links provided. Before shopping online, secure all bank and credit accounts with strong and different passwords. The same should be done for airline and rewards accounts, because the emergence of these offerings has led to an increase in the demand for and resale value of stolen information.
 
Social Media Scams: Beware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, even if it appears the offer was shared by an online friend. Some may pose as holiday promotions or contests that lead to participation in an online survey designed to steal personal information. In addition, do not post photos of event tickets on social media sites as fraudsters can use the barcode to recreate tickets for resale.
 
Craigslist Scams: Websites like Craigslist or eBay are especially popular during the holiday season, as people look for bargains or sell unneeded items for cash. Take steps to protect yourself by recognizing scams. Most scams attempts involve one or more of the following (source: https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams*):
  • Email or text from someone that is not local to your area.
  • Vague initial inquiry, e.g. asking about "the item." Poor grammar/spelling.
  • Western Union, Money Gram, cashier check, money order, Paypal, shipping, escrow service, or a "guarantee."
  • Inability or refusal to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction.
  • Requests for personal financial info (bank account, social security, Paypal account, etc.).
Smartphone App Scams: Some apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information from your device. Before downloading an app from an unknown source, look for third-party reviews and be mindful that alternative app marketplaces can potentially include stolen content and compromised versions of otherwise trustworthy applications.

Work-From-Home Scams: Beware of postings offering work that can be done from the comfort of home, as these opportunities may have unscrupulous motivations behind them. Take caution when money is required up front for instructions or products, or when a job post claims “no experience necessary.” Carefully research individuals or companies before providing them with personal information and never provide personal information when first interacting with a potential employer.
 
Additional steps to avoid becoming a victim of fraud:
  • Check bank and credit card statements routinely, including immediately after making an online purchase and weeks following the holiday season.
  • Only purchase merchandise from a reputable source.
  • Don’t trust a website to be secure just because it claims to be.
  • Do not respond to spam e-mails or click on links contained within them.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mails that ask for personal information.
  • Be cautious of all e-mail attachments and scan them for viruses before opening.
  • Verify requests for personal information from businesses or financial institutions by contacting them using the main contact information on their official website.
  • Be cautious when dealing with individuals outside of your own country.
How to report fraud: Consumers who suspect they’ve been victimized should immediately contact their financial institution and then law enforcement. Arvest customers with concerns about their accounts can report fraud by emailing reportfraud@arvest.com.
 
They are also encouraged to file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov*) regardless of dollar amount lost, and provide all relevant information regarding the complaint.
 
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.
 
 

 

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Privacy and Security, Technology
 

Equifax Breach: What you need to know

Friday, September 08 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News
On September 7, 2017, Equifax, a U.S.-based consumer credit reporting agency, announced a cybersecurity incident they say affected approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. This event did not involve Arvest banking systems, and Arvest does not currently have access to the list of our customers potentially impacted. At Arvest Bank, our teams continually monitor customer accounts for fraudulent activity. If unusual activity is observed and action is required, we will contact our customers.
 
Equifax is offering a website—www.equifaxsecurity2017.com*—where you can check whether you are one of the people whose data may have been compromised. In addition to this site, Equifax says they will send direct mail notices to consumers whose credit card numbers or documents with personal identifying information were impacted. Additionally, Equifax has established a dedicated call center to assist consumers. The call center is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m.-midnight Central. The call center number is (866) 447-7559. In the event any Arvest cards are determined to have been exposed by Equifax, we will contact those customers with next steps.
 
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a blog on its website – www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog* -- in which it explains what consumers should do to help protect their information from being misused.
 
The FTC blog also shares the following steps consumers can take to help protect themselves after a data breach: 
  • Check your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for free – by visiting annualcreditreport.com*. Accounts or activity that you don’t recognize could indicate identity theft. Visit IdentityTheft.gov* to find out what to do.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze on your files. A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. Keep in mind that a credit freeze won’t prevent a thief from making charges to your existing accounts.
  • Monitor your existing credit card and bank accounts closely for charges you don’t recognize.
  •  If you decide against a credit freeze, consider placing a fraud alert on your files. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name really is you.
  • File your taxes early – as soon as you have the tax information you need – before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS. 
Visit IdentityTheft.gov/databreach* to learn more about protecting yourself after a data breach. 
 
Arvest takes your privacy and security seriously. To report Identity theft or financial fraud, please contact Customer Service immediately at (866) 952-9523. To report suspicious email messages, phone calls or text messages, please forward the message, or send a description of the call, to reportfraud@arvest.com. To report a lost or stolen card, please contact Customer Service or use our Contact Us page: https://www.arvest.com/contact/banking. To learn more, please visit https://www.arvest.com/about/privacy-and-security
 
As a reminder, Arvest offers IDProtect® as a value added feature of the following checking accounts; myBlue, Arvest Club and Preferred Club. 
 
If you are currently a customer in one of these accounts, you have the option to register for Credit File Monitoring and Total Identity Monitoring. Credit File Monitoring provides daily monitoring of your credit file and provides automated alerts of key changes to your Experian, Equifax and TransUnion credit reports. Total Identity Monitoring provides monitoring for over 1,000 databases including credit, Social Security, public records, real property records, telephone and many others. Registration and activation is required to obtain Credit File Monitoring and Total Identity Monitoring. You can register and activate Credit File Monitoring and Total Identity Monitoring by going to www.IDProtectMe247.com*.
 
Click here to learn more about the features and benefits of IDProtect®.
 
 
Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

Tags: Consumer Protection
 

What is Financial Malware and How to Protect Yourself

Tuesday, July 18 at 11:00 AM
Category: Personal Finance

What is Financial Malware?

Everywhere you turn today you seem to be bombarded with news coverage concerning the urgency of combating cybercrime, bad actors and hackers. There are many variations of malicious software, or “malware,” but financial malware, as its name implies is written specifically to commit financial fraud.

Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to infect their victims with malware including sending them email messages containing infected attachments or links to infected websites.

Once the victim is infected, the malware monitors the victim’s activity and may steal online banking credentials and other personal information using keystroke logging or screen shots images. 

In some cases, hackers may use the victim’s own web browser to collect sensitive information (e.g., the victim's PIN) by adding extra fields to legitimate online forms or by changing website wording and messaging, or by triggering legitimate-looking pop-up forms in real-time.

Financial malware may redirect the victim to a fake website designed to mimic a legitimate bank website. As the victim enters their credentials, the malware then redirects them into the legitimate site, potentially triggering a SMS or other second-factor authentication code that the Trojan can then capture via the fake website.

How to Protect Yourself
 
Most threats still need user interaction to infect a potential victim’s system. For this reason, becoming aware of these threats and diligently taking extra precautions can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime.  
 
  • Keep your operating system, web browser and other software up to date.
     
  • Make sure your computer has both an anti-spyware protection program that detects and removes spyware and an anti-virus program. Keep both programs updated. Scan your computer for viruses and spyware on a regular basis.
     
  • Be very protective of your personal account information. There are criminals who try to trick you by creating sites that look similar to real sites. The best way to know who you are dealing with is to type the address in your browser address bar; don’t click on a link that’s provided to you via email.
     
  • Do not open attachments in email messages if you do not know the sender or weren’t expecting the message. Attachments can contain viruses and spyware.
     
  • Avoid logging into password protected websites, such as online banking or email services from public computers. Instead, use trusted or secured networks.
     
  • Avoid downloading apps to your mobile phone from unofficial stores and pay attention to the permissions requested by apps before their installation.
     
  • Always sign off from sessions and close your browser after using password protected websites. 
     
  • Avoid using unencrypted email to conduct financial transactions or send sensitive information.
     
  • If you suspect your computer may be infected or that your online banking credentials may have been compromised, contact your bank and change your password from a different trusted computer. Contact a computer security professional for assistance in removing malicious software.
     
  • Regularly review your bank account activity and immediately notify your bank if you notice suspicious transactions in your account.
Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education, Privacy and Security, Technology
 

Disaster Preparedness Includes Safeguarding Financial Information

Monday, May 01 at 08:30 AM
Category: Personal Finance
April showers may bring May flowers, but unfortunately, spring also can bring severe weather that results in disasters like floods, fires and tornadoes.

And while no one wants to think they will be the victim of such a disaster, it’s best to be prepared. Having access to financial and other documents should be part of that preparation.
 
Below is a list that can serve as a good starting place when it comes to the documents you may need if you’re the victim of a natural disaster.
 
Note: It is imperative to store this information somewhere secure. That could be at home in a fireproof and waterproof box, at a bank in a safe deposit box, or maybe electronically in a secure cloud-based service. If you choose to store these documents at home, be sure to hide it somewhere out of sight of would-be intruders.

Basic identification – These are documents that can help you identify yourself and your family, your relationships and/or your status.
  • Driver’s license, passport, Social Security card, green card
  • Vital records such as birth and marriage certificates, adoption papers, etc.
Financial and legal documents – These can help you request assistance from your insurance provider and/or disaster assistance programs.
  • Mortgage documentation, rental or lease agreement, property deed
  • Checking and/or savings account statements, retirement and investment account statements, tax returns, insurance policies, will or trust, power of attorney
  • Vehicle title and registration, loan documents
Medical information
  • Health and dental insurance cards
  • List of prescriptions and any allergies, pharmacy information, contact information for doctors
  • Living will, medical power of attorney
Emergency contact information
  • Employers/supervisors
  • Schools
  • Home repair services such as utilities, plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.
Again, once you have compiled this information, it is critical to store it securely. Whether that’s at home in a fireproof and waterproof box, at a bank in a safe deposit box, or electronically in a secure cloud-based service, it needs to be in a place that’s accessible only to you and hidden from would-be thieves.
 
Regardless of the means you choose, no one wants to envision a scenario in which they need to access this kind of information due to a natural disaster. Being prepared, however, can provide some measure of comfort. 

Tags: Consumer Protection, Financial Education

Choose one or more categories to subscribe to:




Cancel