Valley First

Cyber Monday spending spree?

Up your online shopping savvy ahead of time

November 23, 2015

Penticton, B.C. – The Monday after American Thanksgiving—Nov. 30 this year—has become well-known as Cyber Monday and consumers are increasingly trading over-indulging at the dinner table for splurging on online shopping bargains.

For many, this online shopping spree signals the start of the Christmas shopping season as well as a great way to avoid the chaos at the mall by going digital in pursuit of the perfect holiday gift. But, with the ever-present threat of online fraud, is trading the crowds for online shopping just trading one headache for another.

Global payments solution provider ACI reports one in every 86 “card not present” transactions is now an attempted fraud. Before you rush online to cash in on those Cyber Monday sales, make sure your online security savviness is on par with your bargaining prowess, says Charla Johnstone, a branch manager at Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.

“If you shop online regularly, you should consider a separate card for your online transactions,” says Johnstone, who leads Valley First’s Brocklehurst branch. “You can dial the credit limit down to the amount you need; setting it to $500 or $1,000 will really limit the impact of potential losses if you should fall victim to fraud.”

Early detection is also important so “get into the habit of reviewing your card transactions online rather than waiting for your monthly statement to arrive,” says Johnstone.

“Card fraud transaction amounts are often small at first as a test to see if anyone notices before fraudsters move on to much larger sums.

While self-vigilance is key, selecting a card provider that offers a real time fraud detection monitoring system is equally important. It’s likely they will contact you to confirm a suspicious purchase before you even know your card has been compromised.

Dealing with well know online retailers that offer encrypted security is another obvious safety measure. And, be wary of retailers that want more than just your card number.

“Nobody needs to know when you were born to sell you a pair of shoes, for example. But this type of information can certainly help online criminals to perpetuate fraud,” says Johnstone.

“Where you shop doesn’t just refer to the name of the retailer,” she adds. “Inputting your credit card information using an unsecured public network is asking for trouble, never mind the fact that some low-tech fraudster may simply be looking over your shoulder as you input sensitive information.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 54 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

Follow us
Twitter: @valley_first

Have a question? We can provide you with the information you're looking for.


Use our contact form to send us a message—we'll be sure to reply to you with the details you're looking for shortly.

In Person

If you're more comfortable coming in to see us, we'd be happy to chat with you about the questions you have.

By Phone

If you'd like to call us, here is a complete list of our branch and insurance office numbers.


Social Feed

Visit us on Facebook or Twitter

Sign up for our e-Newsletter