Safe Online Shopping

Be Alert. Be Smart. Beware When Shopping Online This Holiday Season.

Protecting yourself while shopping online is of utmost importance. In today’s digital age, it is crucial to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe online shopping experience. Opt for trusted platforms and payment gateways that offer encryption and fraud protection. Additionally, be cautious of suspicious emails or websites that may attempt to steal your personal data. Always double-check the legitimacy of the sender or the website before sharing any sensitive information.

7 ways to verify the safety of a website

  1. Check for a secure padlock: Browsers like Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox show a padlock in the URL to mark safe sites. Click on it to ensure the site’s certificate matches the company.
  2. Check if the URL is authenticated (HTTP Secure): Authenticated websites typically start with https:// rather than http://. Illegitimate websites usually won’t bother with security certification since they are quickly shut down. It is crucial to confirm the presence of https:// on pages before you enter your payment details.
  3. Check the domain name: Counterfeit websites often use domain names that closely resemble those of legitimate businesses or organizations. Upon closer inspeAuthenticated URLction, you may notice that two letters have been swapped or there is a minor misspelling. If you encounter a spelling error in the domain name, it indicates that you are not on the official site, and it is advisable to close the tab.
  4. Use a website checker such as Google Transparency Report Webpage: This tool enables you to quickly evaluate the security rating of a website’s URL according to the standards set by Google.
  5. Search the company with the Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau can be utilized to assess the trustworthiness of a company.
  6. Check to see if the company has a social media presence: Legitimate companies typically maintain an active presence on social media platforms. To authenticate this, verify whether their website contains social media icons that effectively lead to their social media channels.
  7. Check the website contact page: Proceed with caution if the company lacks various means of contact such as phone, email, live chat, or a physical address.

Additional Security Tips

  1. Hover over links: When you hover over a website link, you can view the underlying URL at the bottom of your browser. This allows you to verify the true destination URL, even if the link is labeled differently or redirects you elsewhere.

The image shows a link that at first glance looks like it will take you to the Better Business Bureau, however, when you hover the cursor over the link you can see it will take you to the Freedom Bank website.

  1. Sounds too good to be true, it is: Sellers often mark down products to clear stock or launch new items. Overly attractive deals should raise suspicion, as they’re likely not genuine. Always tread with caution when a deal seems too good to be true.
  2. Search for reviews or potential scams: If you’re uncertain about whether a website is legitimate or fraudulent, try searching for the website name along with the terms “scam” or “reviews”. You can stay up to date on current scams on the Federal Trade Commission’s website. If others have been tricked by a fake site, you’re likely to find reports when you look for scams. A reputable online store should have numerous reviews available for you to analyze. Stay alert for reviews that seem generic, sound automated or unnatural, or are excessively brief, as these may be fake.
  3. Scammers try to invoke specific emotions: Scammers attempt to elicit feelings of anxiety, fear, joy, or sorrow. Their aim is to prompt you to make impulsive emotional decisions, thereby gaining access to your financial resources. If a phone call, email, or text message is evoking emotions within you, step back and give yourself a moment to think rationally before acting. Seek advice from trusted friends or family.

Protect yourself further with alerts, controls, and notifications provided by Freedom Bank

  1. Set up alerts: Through online banking or the mobile app you can set up custom alerts to be sent to your email and/or cell phone.
    • Stay updated on all transactions to your checking account and receive alerts whenever your debit card is used.
    • Establish alerts when withdrawals from your checking account exceed a predefined threshold or a set a low balance alert.
    • Receive alerts when changes are made to your online banking, including lockouts.
  2. Download the Freedom Bank MT mobile app: The Freedom Bank MT mobile app provides a variety of functions that help keep your accounts secure. You have the ability to establish controls for your debit card, activate or deactivate lost debit cards, configure various account alerts, monitor your accounts, view statements, and much more.
  3. Respond to fraud notifications: Freedom Bank utilizes 24/7 fraud monitoring for suspicious debit card transactions. If a transaction is identified as suspicious, the transaction will be blocked and you will receive a text message from 37268 within 15 seconds of the transaction attempt. You have two options for responding to the text:
    • If the transaction is legitimate and has been initiated by you, respond ‘YES” to the message and you will have the opportunity to reattempt the transaction, which should then be successful.
    • If you did not participate in the transaction or believe it to be fraudulent, reply ‘NO’. Your response will restrict further transactions until you either contact the fraud number provided in the message, or Freedom Bank at (406) 892-1776.
  1. Utilize card controls: Freedom Bank offers a variety of tools to help you secure and manage your debit card including but not limited to:
    • Set spending limits based on location, amount, and merchant type.
    • Set travel plans internationally and within the United States.
    • Gain total transparency in every transaction with each business identified.
    • Immediately turn off a lost or stolen card from your mobile device.