How to protect yourself this Christmas from card fraud

December 15, 2016

Despite the predictions that Brexit is going to impact Christmas shopping spend this year, a Europe–wide study has revealed the opposite and that UK Christmas spending will hit a record of £77.56 bn this year.
The study that was conducted by, RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research, predicts that the average home in the UK, will spend £809.90 on food, drink, decoration and gifts.  Comparatively across Europe, the average spend will be £540.32, whilst Spain will have the lowest Christmas spend at only £348.24 per home.  Interestingly, the findings also show that there has been a shift from high street shopping to online spending, where 43% of UK consumers will be purchasing their gifts from smartphones and tablets

Cybercrime on the rise
This just goes to show, that us Brits love Christmas, and enjoy spending our money on family and friends.  However, how confident do consumers feel about protecting themselves from cybercrime?  According to the Telegraph, worryingly, ThreatMetrix has already detected 45m attempted online attacks in the last three months and this figure is expected to increase during the festive season.
According to the City of London Police, fraudsters are targeting Internet shoppers, delivering only disappointment through bogus websites, and advertising counterfeit goods and services that never arrive.

How paying by card can protect you from cybercrime
Although online fraud is increasing, by using card, it will actually provide you with extra protection if things to go wrong, which you wouldn’t have if you were paying by cheque or cash.
The main benefit in making purchases with card is that UK cardholders are not financially liable for any fraud committed on their cards.  As long as you haven’t acted fraudulently or without reasonable care – like disclosing your PIN to someone else, or giving your card to someone else

How can you protect yourself this Christmas against cybercrime?
Here are our top tips on how to protect yourself as a consumer this Christmas

  • Limit personal information on social media

Protect yourself by limiting your personal information available on social media accounts, which could allow your bank accounts to be compromised.  Surprisingly we readily provide a lot of information on social media that could lead to passwords being disclosed, such as place of birth.

  • Ensure you are paying securely online

When shopping online make sure that the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage and has a padlock symbol.  This will indicate that the website page is secure to make a transaction.

  • Ensure you have anti-virus software

Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Even links to Christmas e-cards can contain malicious malware that can harm your device.

  • Do your research

Where possible only shop online with brands that you know. Avoid any phony websites or vouchers and always do your research.  Trust Pilot is a great reference to check other consumer’s reviews and experiences.

  • Check Bank Statements

Regularly check your bank statements for any unauthorised purchases.

  • Think about your search history

Be wary of installing add-ons to your Internet browser as some can be used to extract personal and financial information from your search history.

What to do if you are a victim of cybercrime?
If you are unfortunate enough to encounter any fraudulent activity, the best thing to do is contact your card provider immediately and keep a record of all the details connected to the case, such as date, times etc.