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Three in five shoppers at risk of fraud

18th November 2010

Poor personal security habits, such as sharing PINs and card details, are putting 57% of people at risk of fraud according to Visa Europe.

As the Christmas shopping period approaches, Visa Europe is warning people to be vigilant to avoid becoming a victim.

The research found that the top five most common practice that put people at risk of fraud when shopping online and on the high street include:

  1. Giving PIN(s) to a friend, family member or colleague (29%)
  2. Writing down a PIN (27%)
  3. Giving full card details to a friend or family member so they can use it to make a purchase (14%)
  4. Leaving a purse or wallet unattended when at the gym / beach / pool (13%)
  5. Using a PIN as a password for other things, such as unlocking a mobile phone (12%)

Visa Europe’s top tips for safe shopping

Online Shopping

  • Take the time to do your research before making a purchase from a retailer you aren’t familiar with.  28% of people admit to buying from online retailers they have never heard of without doing any basic research, potentially putting themselves at risk of fraud.
  • Look for e-commerce retailers that use ‘Verified by Visa’ for added protection against card fraud online. ‘Verified by Visa’ ensures that both you and the retailer are genuine and protects your card twice when shopping online.
  • Be aware that you are protected if you are an innocent victim of card fraud. 17% of people are unaware that card issuers and banks generally have policies that protect card fraud victims.
  • Look for an unbroken key or lock at the bottom of your browser window or check the website address, which should begin with https:// rather than http://. The ‘s’ denotes that the website is secure and ensures that your card details will be encrypted securely before being sent across the Internet. Nearly one in ten people (8%) say they regularly shop on unsecure sites, while a further one in ten (8%) are unaware of the difference between secure and unsecure websites.
  • Make sure you either save or print a record of your internet transactions, including the retailer's website address.
  • Before buying, read the delivery and return policies that should be on the retailer’s website.
  • Check contact details for the website and make sure they have a contact telephone number.
  • If using a PC in a shared or public environment, always ensure that you log off so that no one can access your personal information.

High Street Shopping

  • Pay close attention when you are receiving change at a busy till point to ensure you are not being given forged money or being short-changed.
  • When making a purchase be sure to confirm with the retailer the amount being taken from your debit or credit card.
  • When entering your PIN to confirm a retail transaction or cash withdrawal at an ATM, ensure that you are not being overlooked.
  • When entering your PIN to confirm a retail transaction or cash withdrawal at an ATM, be suspicious if the device looks like it has been altered or tampered with.
  • Do not give your PIN or card details to anyone to make a purchase on your behalf, regardless of whether they are a close friend or family member.  Your details could easily fall into the wrong hands.
  • Always destroy any card transaction slips which bear your debit or credit card number after checking against your statement.
  • Choose a unique PIN – don’t go for obvious choices such as your date of birth or telephone number.
  • Avoid writing your PIN down at all, and at all costs, never keep it in your wallet or purse.
  • Avoid using your PIN for other forms of identification or access, e.g. your mobile phone or as a login to a website

For more information about Visa Europe’s research and tips, visit Visa Europe’s website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

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