Financial Health
December 2, 2016

Mobile holiday shoppers take note: 10 tips to keep your data safe

With one in three shoppers expected to use mobile devices this year for holiday purchases, Wells Fargo offers fraud-fighting tips.

We asked Lisa H. Robinson of Wells Fargo’s Virtual Channels team to share her perspective on the upcoming holiday shopping season. Robinson manages Wells Fargo’s Fraud Information Center and leads risk, security, and governance for mobile banking,, contact centers, and digital properties.

Lisa H. Robinson of Wells Fargo Virtual Channels

While U.S. consumers are accessing more news and entertainment on mobile devices, they also are shifting their shopping online — especially to mobile channels. In fact, one in three are expected to use a mobile device to make a holiday purchase this season, according to Rubicon Project®’s 2016 Holiday Consumer Pulse Poll.

This increase in mobile traffic has also attracted fraudsters. According to the 2016 LexisNexis® True Cost of FraudSM Study (PDF), 35 percent of all fraudulent transactions occurred through mobile channels among large online and mobile merchants.

As the holiday shopping season ramps up, Wells Fargo is committed to working with customers to help protect against fraud. Follow these 10 tips to help safeguard your mobile device and financial information:

  1. Use the security functions on your device. It’s important to ensure your mobile device is password- or fingerprint-protected. This helps reduce the chance of your personal information falling into the wrong hands. If your phone is lost, use the “find my phone” or “wipe memory” functions, if available.
  2. Keep your private information private. Never divulge personal or financial information such as account numbers or passwords in a text message, phone call, or email.
  3. Beware of public hotspots. Carefully consider your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection settings, even at a trusted retailer; fraudsters can spoof the name of reputable hotspots.
  4. Keep your operating system current. To ensure the highest level of protection, keep your mobile operating system up to date and do not alter or “jail break” your mobile device to modify the software and controls. If you have concerns about an update to your mobile device, visit your service provider’s website to confirm that the update is legitimate.
  5. Avoid storing sensitive information. Don’t save your Wells Fargo password on your smartphone or in an app where it could be discovered if your phone is stolen.
  6. Update your passwords. To create a strong password, include special characters and avoid using any part of your email address, the name of your child or pet, or anything else that someone could easily guess.  
  7. Download apps from reputable sources. Only download mobile applications from an official app store and not a third party.
  8. Use secure shopping sites. Shop with merchants you trust. Make sure internet purchases are secured with encryption to protect your account. Look for secure transaction signs like a lock symbol and “https” in the address bar.
  9. Think before you click. With so many holiday deals offered via email and other digital channels, be wary of clicking on promotional links. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  10. Pause before you post. Avoid sharing personal details on social media that financial institutions may use to identify you, like your birth date, home address, mother’s maiden name, and schools attended. Fraudsters may use this information to help gain access to accounts, since these identifiers are common answers to security questions.

Visit the Wells Fargo Fraud Information Center for more tips on protecting yourself from fraud and identity theft. If you notice suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions on your Wells Fargo account, or have reason to believe your account has been compromised, contact us immediately at 800-869-3557. To report a suspicious email, text, or phone call that claims to be from Wells Fargo, follow these instructions.