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Be Shopping Fraud Aware: Thirty-two Shopping Days Until Christmas

Do you check your credit card statements for unusual purchases? Would you say you protect yourself adequately while shopping online? Follow our advice now as you prepare to brave the shops for the festive buying season.

Woman Shopping Online

There are thirty two shopping days until Christmas, forty days until the start of the January sale season and roughly forty-five days until many consumers will receive their first credit card statements for 2012. Even those who have overspent will have some idea of their outstanding card balances and required payments.

However, some consumers may discover charges for items they can’t account for; from costly online purchases from the supermarket to plasma screen televisions or digital gadgets.

Check for unusual transactions

Whenever you receive your bank or credit card statement you should check for any unusual transactions. As Christmas is a peak time for card fraud you should check your January statements carefully to ensure that you haven’t unwittingly fallen victim to fraudsters. Contact your bank or your credit card provider immediately if you find transactions you don’t recognise. Request for your card to be stopped and for a new card to be issued.

Card holders have spending patterns and both banks and card providers are aware if these patterns vary greatly. This type of red flag may cause unusual transactions to be blocked until the card issuer can speak with the card holder. However, Christmas is a busy period. Some bargain conscious consumers may shop with a variety of merchants, particularly online. Others may make all or the majority of purchases with one retailer or e-commerce site.

Secure online purchases

One of the ways banks are tackling “card not present” fraud is through MasterCard Secure Code and Verified by Visa registration schemes. Both banks and high street retailers have signed up as means of making transactions more secure. In order to complete any transaction, the purchaser must provide a password.

Your bank or card issuer will have a code of practice in dealing with credit card fraud. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities with regard to financial loss under your credit agreement. If you need advice you can contact your local branch of Citizens Advice.

Stay safe in the first instance by following our tips to protect yourself from falling into common traps that can leave consumers vulnerable to fraud. Remember that if there are cards you no longer use, make sure you cancel them.

The impact of fraud crime can be psychological as well as financial. Fraud can happen to anyone and reporting fraud to Action Fraud can reduce the incidents of this crime.

Related links:

Online shopping fraud
Credit card fraud
Identity fraud and theft

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