Watch Out for Cyber Grinches


The holidays can be a hectic time of year. Buying gifts online, making travel arrangements, and giving back to charitable organizations can keep you busy. But don’t take your eye off security.


The holidays are also a busy time for cybercriminals who may look for openings to take advantage of people. Fortunately, you can fight back against thieves and better protect your personal information with these six tips:


  1. Keep a clean machine
    Before picking out that perfect gift, be sure that all internet-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software, web browsers and other apps.

  2. Use secure Wi-Fi
    Using free public Wi-Fi to shop online while at your favorite coffee shop is tremendously convenient, but it is not cyber safe. Don’t make purchases while connected to public Wi-Fi; instead, use a virtual private network (VPN) or your phone as a hotspot.

  3. Lock down your logins
    Create long and unique passphrases for all accounts and use multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Multi-factor authentication will fortify your online accounts by enabling the most robust authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time code sent to your phone or mobile device.

  4. Shop securely
    Not only should you make sure your internet connection is secure, but you should also check to make sure you’re shopping on a site that uses SSL protection. The easiest way to tell is to check your browser’s address bar. Look for “https” in the URL. Sites using only “http” without the “s” are not safe to submit payment information or other personal details.

  5. Pay wisely
    Monitor your accounts. Check your online financial accounts regularly for suspicious spending. Also, take advantage of text and email alerting services available in your MyBXS mobile app or online banking experience to keep track of money coming out of your accounts.

  6. Avoid public USB ports
    USB charging ports for public use in places like airports and public spaces are susceptible to being compromised by hackers. Remember that plugging into a USB port could give the device you plug into access to your phone. Bad actors could place devices designed to hack your phone or steal your data in public USB ports. If you need to charge on the go, bring your own charging block that plugs into a conventional electrical outlet, or carry a personal power bank.


And as a reminder, please make sure you’re aware of phishing techniques and suspicious activity we covered in last month’s BancorpSouth Advisor. Suspicious calls or emails may be an attempt to get login credentials or sensitive personal data.


We encourage you to visit BanksNeverAskThat.com, watch the informative videos and take the Banks Never Ask That quiz to familiarize yourself with red flags and phishing scams.


Remember, if someone calls claiming to be from BancorpSouth and asks you for your personal information, it isn’t us. BancorpSouth will NEVER call you and ask for your account or login information. If you feel you might have been the victim of fraud, contact us right away to report suspicious activity at (888) 797-7711.


Learn more about what we do to protect identity and combat fraud.