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Women Face Higher Online Fraud Risk This Christmas

Only 8% of women aged 26 to 35 have up-to-date anti-virus software on their computers, putting them at higher risk of fraud and computer crimes this festive shopping season.

Woman Shopping Online

The figure from the National Fraud Authority, which runs Action Fraud, has spurred a new Be Card Smart Online campaign, which launches today.

The campaign is urging all Christmas shoppers to follow a simple checklist to reduce their chances of being a fraud victim this Christmas. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) has forecast that UK shoppers are set to spend £7.75 billion online between 28 November and 31 December.

Be Smart Card Online tips on staying safe online this Christmas

  • Keep your PC protected by installing up-to-date anti-virus software. Ensure your browser is set at its highest level of security notification and monitoring - the safety options are not always activated by default. Turn on ‘automatic updates’ when asked. This will allow you to decide when and how updates are installed.
  • Look for the padlock symbol – especially if you’re buying from a website for the first time. It’s a good indication that the online retailer us reputable.
  • Register your cards with Verified by Visa, MasterCard SecureCode or American Express SafeKey when prompted. It is quick and easy and makes shopping online even safer.
  • Always log out after shopping online and save the confirmation email as a record of your order.
  • Be sure you know who you are dealing with – always access the website you are planning to buy from by typing the address into your web browser.
  • Ensure you are the only person that knows your PIN – never share it with anyone, either in person, over the telephone or in an email.
  • Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to believe then there is usually a catch. Be suspicious of prices that are too good to be true.
  • Keep records – keep details of your order and the retailer’s terms and conditions, returns policy, delivery conditions, postal address (not a post office box) and phone number (not a mobile number). Having this information will help if you subsequently encounter difficulties with your order. Keep your receipts and check these against your statement. If you spot a transaction you did not authorise tell your card company immediately.
  • Section 75 protection – if you are buying something between £100 and £30,000 consider using a credit card, as you will then have extra protection through Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This covers you whether the online retailer is based in the UK or abroad. Section 75 states that should a problem subsequently arise, such as the company going out of business, you can claim your money back from your credit card company.
  • Fraud protection - If you are an innocent victim of any type of card fraud you will not suffer any financial loss.
  • If you have been a victim of a shopping related fraud, report it to Action Fraud.

Read more about the Be Card Smart Online campaign on The UK Cards Association’s website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online reporting tool.

Related links:
Online shopping fraud
Bank card fraud
Be Shopping Fraud Aware: Thirty-two shopping days until Christmas

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