As Christmas approaches our spending increases, and so does the chance that we will become a victim of credit card fraud. Forget about it being the ‘season of goodwill to all men', that is not a sentiment to which fraudsters adhere. They will do their best to steal others’ credit card details - whatever the time of year - so be on your guard.
One of the prime reasons that it is easier for fraudsters to be successful at Christmas is because of the sheer amount of transactions that take place over the festive season, and crucially how many of those are done online using credit cards. Not all e-commerce websites are built with the sort of encrypted and protective software that you would associate with online banks. That means some will be open to abuse from fraudsters, and they are the ones you should avoid.
Reputation and recourse are two things to bear in mind when it comes to shopping online. Websites owned and run by large, well-known companies will on the whole tend to be safer than other sites. This is purely because bigger businesses have more resources at their disposal to ensure that their sites are safe and secure to use. Although that does not mean that all sites run by big companies are safe and all others unsafe. On the whole large bricks and mortar companies such as department stores fiercely protect their brand reputation. Crucially, if it all goes wrong on the net, you can go to the store to get it sorted.
On smaller sites look for a physical address and telephone numbers that are not mobile numbers. Check the business through Yell or a local business directory before imparting your credit card details. Knowing that you are dealing with a legitimate company and can get hold of them should it all go wrong is very important. There's no point getting the best credit card deals on the web, if they turn out to be fraudulent.
One of the oft overlooked ways of ensuring that you don't become the victim of fraud is to ensure that you have up-to-date security software installed on your computer before you go shopping on the net. One way fraudsters can steal your details is by setting up websites that look real, but they are actually just ways of getting access or taking control of your computer via Trojans and other software.
Finally carefully compare credit cards before you choose the one you are to use on the web. Many UK credit cards now carry online fraud protection which means that if you do fall victim to fraud this Christmas you'll have most or all of your losses reimbursed. Stick with these recommendations and have a safe Christmas shopping online.