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Say “I Do” to a Cyber-Safe Wedding Experience

Cybercrime is likely the last thing on your radar when it comes to planning your perfect wedding. We get it, you’ve got the venue, cake, and bridesmaid in-fighting to worry about; not to mention, keeping your weird Uncle Al’s favorite jam off the DJ’s playlist. But, there’s one more “to do” you should really prioritize on your list – preventing cybercrime.

Much of wedding planning has moved to online tools and resources, which can mean opening new accounts with vendors, email providers, etc. All these new resources come with some sort of website, portal or app for you to use to make the planning process seamless and easy, but the constant information sharing also comes at a cost. You’re more vulnerable to hackers looking for an easy target.

So, to help keep your money and identity safe and get you on your way to “happily ever after,” we broke down a few simple tips:

1. When it comes to weddings, nothing comes cheap

We know you’re likely scrimping in other parts of your life while planning your dream wedding, but just say “no” to free, public Wi-Fi. We understand how tempting it is to mooch off your favorite coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi to knock out some wedding planning, but don’t do it. Public Wi-Fi is easier for thieves to hack into and could potentially leave you exposed, especially if you’re transmitting personal data such as buying your ceremony signage or updating your address in your registry.

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Also, understand the terms of your credit card agreement and monitor your statements frequently for any suspicious purchases. It’s always wise to know who you are getting into business with by checking the company’s reviews and ratings and looking up the organization with the local better business bureau.

2. Not every app is Mr. or Mrs. Right

While it may be tempting to subscribe and use all the latest wedding planning online tools, it could also mean opening new accounts and providing your personal information to a whole host of new organizations. So, be as choosy as you were when you selected your future spouse. If you don’t really use an app or a service, deactivate your account. This helps limit your personal information to the select organization you really use.

Plus, all this sharing of information can also open you up to an increased number of phishing scams. Be vigilant by watching your email correspondence, verifying calls are actually from your vendors, and checking your package shipping notifications regularly.

3. Say “I don’t” to uninvited wedding guests 

Trust us, you don’t want your wedding information floating all around for everyone to see… and we’re not just talking about someone’s ex crashing the ceremony. Hackers can use the centralized wedding website to commandeer your personal information through your site host, registry or even the hotel block. So, take the extra step and password protect your wedding website.

4. Happy honeymooning

Relaxing on the beach with your new spouse probably sounds like a dream after months of planning, family bickering and celebrating, but don’t get too comfortable. It’s easy to let down your guard and open yourself up to hackers by posting photos that indicate you’re away from home, using unsecure connections to transfer funds or not actively monitoring your accounts.

A few steps to take to keep yourself secure: notify your bank about your travels and understand the fraud protections in the destination you are traveling to – they do change; also, ask a trusted neighbor to collect your mail and keep an eye on your home, just in case. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean thieves and hackers are.

“You should be using these cybersecurity tips every day to keep your money and identity safe – not just during the busy wedding planning season,” said Trevor Buxton, Certified Fraud Examiner and fraud communications manager at PNC. “It’s best to just always assume you’re at risk, so that you keep your guard up and you are less likely to be victimized.”

We know it seems impossible to add one more thing to your to-do list, but cybercrime isn’t a joke. It can take years to recover from a personal data breach and it’s certainly not the way you’ll want to cruise into your newlywed year. Make sure you are doing your part to proactively keep yourself safe.

Trevor Buxton is a Certified Fraud Examiner and fraud communications manager at PNC

Wedding season is upon us and with that comes, registries, RSVPs, hotel reservations and various other online activities. All of these activities can open people up to cybercrime. So, with cybersecurity technology and innovation efforts at the forefront of PNC’s strategy, we seek to educate everyone on how to stay safe even during one of the happiest seasons of the year. –  Trevor Buxton