Guard against Identity Theft This Holiday Season

Online holiday sales are projected to increase 15 percent in 2011 to nearly $60 billion, according to Forrester Research, Inc.1 But while consumers increasingly do their shopping online, there also is widespread concern they might fall prey to identity theft, a growing threat online today. That’s why Huntington (NASDAQ: HBAN; www.huntington.com), in a continued effort to look out for its customers, has developed “Ten Cyber Shopping Tips” consumers can follow to help protect their identity while shopping online this holiday season.

“At Huntington, we understand many of our customers are time-starved and look to the convenience of online shopping,” said Jeff Dennes, senior vice president responsible for Huntington’s online banking. “Huntington’s online banking site is one of the top-10 banking sites in the country and we want to share our expertise with shoppers to give them peace of mind about their online transactions this holiday season.”

Safeguarding one’s online identity is even easier this holiday season with the addition of new mobile and iPad applications that allow you to check your balances while on the go. And it is also important to take advantage of real-time account alerts, where available, which will alert your phone or email account as transactions occur.

Make your list, check it twice and follow Huntington’s “Ten Cyber Shopping Tips”:

  1. Check your accounts daily to confirm online activity and to check for any activity you did not initiate. This is especially important during the holiday season. Contact your bank or credit card provider immediately if you notice any unusual activity.
  2.  

  3. Do business with companies you know and trust. Research a company before revealing personal or financial information online. Confirm an online seller’s physical address and phone number in case you need to get in touch with them. If you get an email or pop-up message that asks for financial information, don’t reply or click on the link. Legitimate companies don’t ask for this information via email or pop-ups.
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  5. Watch out for fake “look-alike” sites. Some con artists disguise their website as a well-known company’s site. Check your browser’s address bar to make sure you’re always using the correct website address. If the website seems suspicious, leave it immediately and call the company.
  6.  

  7. Check a company’s privacy policy before doing business with it. A company should allow you to know what personal information its website is collecting, why and how it will be used. If you can’t find a privacy policy – or if you can’t understand it – consider another site that’s more security-conscious and accommodating to customers.
  8.  

  9. Only provide personal information if you’re on a secure website. Once logged in, ensure the web address starts with “https” (“s” means it’s secure). For added safety, check for a site certificate before submitting information. Confirm the owner by clicking on the padlock icon at the bottom of most browsers. You should see the owner and site address, which should match the website address at the top of the page. If they do not match, it may be a fraudulent site and you should not enter personal data.
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  11. Never respond to emails asking you to “confirm” recent transactions after you shop. These likely are “phishing” scams sent to lure private information from you.
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  13. Maintain a transaction trail, either paper or electronic. Save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online confirmation/receipt, and copies of any email(s) you exchange with the seller.
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  15. Do not share your passwords with anyone and never provide your social security number, birth date or mother’s maiden name in an email.
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  17. Make sure all of your security software is up-to-date before you do your online shopping. That includes anti-virus software, anti-spyware and firewalls.
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  19. Consider using a separate email account for your online shopping. You can set up a free email account online through several different services.
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Huntington’s continued investment in convenience, including mobile applications, is an important part of the bank’s differentiated “Fair Play Banking” philosophy announced last fall with the introduction of 24-Hour Grace®, and highlighted this May by the introduction of Asterisk-Free Checking.

To download Huntington’s mobile or iPad applications go to one of the following sites:

For more information about Huntington, its iPad and mobile applications, 24-Hour Grace or Asterisk-Free Checking, visit https://www.huntington.com or call 1-800-480-BANK (2265).

About Huntington
Huntington Bancshares Incorporated is a $55 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Huntington National Bank, founded in 1866, provides full-service commercial, small business, and consumer banking services; mortgage banking services; treasury management and foreign exchange services; equipment leasing; wealth and investment management services; trust services; brokerage services; customized insurance brokerage and service programs; and other financial products and services. The principal markets for these services are Huntington’s six-state banking franchise: Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The primary distribution channels include a banking network of over 650 traditional branches and convenience branches located in grocery stores and retirement centers, and through an array of alternative distribution channels including internet and mobile banking, telephone banking, and over 1,300 ATMs. Through automotive dealership relationships within its six-state banking franchise area and selected other Midwest and New England states, Huntington also provides commercial banking services to the automotive dealers and retail automobile financing for dealer customers.

Member FDIC. The logo mark, Huntington® and 24-Hour Grace® are federally registered service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. Huntington Welcome™, Asterisk-Free Checking™ and Huntington Plus Checking™ are service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service Mark of Apple Inc.

1 Forrester Research Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2011 (U.S.)

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