Here’s how to avoid financial fraud and scams when you’re Christmas shopping this year

Here’s how to avoid financial fraud and scams when you’re Christmas shopping this year

December is the busiest time of year for shopping, but you could be leaving yourself vulnerable to fraud by not looking after your card information properly.

According to latest research from Action Fraud, 15,024 shoppers were defrauded out of more than £11 million in the run up to Christmas last year.

Here, the experts at Money Guru share their top tips for keeping your finances in check this festive season.

Keep it safe

Zip your cards away in a purse or wallet, or slip them in a cardholder to avoid the possibility of somebody pinching them, or them simply falling out.

It’s recommended that your cards are kept separate to your cash in case your wallet is stolen – at least you’ll have access to your finances if one or the other goes walkabout.

Keep your eyes on the prize

When making a transaction, never let your credit card or debit card out of your sight.

It’s easy to hand your card over and not think twice about watching where it goes or who has access to it, but imagine it as handing over your house keys – you wouldn’t take your eyes off those, would you?

Shop safely online

Online shopping has made bagging the perfect Christmas gift a dream, but it’s extremely important to make sure you’re shopping securely on the web.

Keep your cards separate to your cash, in case your purse or wallet is stolen while Christmas shopping (Photo: Shutterstock)
Keep your cards separate to your cash, in case your purse or wallet is stolen while Christmas shopping (Photo: Shutterstock)

Before entering your card details when placing an order, make sure the security icon (which is either a locked padlock or unbroken key symbol) is shown in your browser address bar.

Be wary of public or shared devices

Avoid entering your card details on a public or shared computer, as they can sometimes be saved automatically. If you don’t have access to a private computer or device, ensure you log off and request for the device to ‘forget’ the details before leaving.

It’s also wise to email your order details to yourself to ensure you have proof of payments being made.

Scout out scams

Telephone and ‘telemarketing’ scams often target the vulnerable, such as the elderly, but with scam artists getting savvier anyone can be fooled and it can cause deep upset and frustration.

If you get a call offering a free gift, but they ask for your card details to pay for shipping, for example, this is almost certainly a con. Never give away your card details over the phone – even your bank or building society won’t ask you for this information.

Plan ahead

Make sure you tell your bank if you’re planning on jetting off this holiday season so they are aware of any foreign transactions.

It’s important to let your bank know the date you’re leaving the country and when you’re returning, too, as unexpected foreign transactions that happen after you have arrive home could be fraudulent.