How to protect yourself from fraud while Christmas shopping

Women are more likely to be victims of fraud over the Christmas shopping period, so follow our easy guide to keep your money and details safe and secure when shopping online

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Online shopping is becoming ever more popular, especially with busy mums. It can be convenient and done anytime of day or night, which is why we’ve linked directly to products featured in our fab guift guides! However, the UK Cards Association is worried that it’s women who are most likely to experience fraud over the holiday season.

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To stop it happening to you, MFM checked out the UK Cards Association’s Be Card Smart Online campaign to find out the essentials for safe shopping on and offline.

Protect your PC

It’s a pain to re-install and update virus software regularly so turn on “automatic updates” where possible and set your browser to its highest level of security.

What to look for on websites

Look for the padlock symbol when you checkout. This is especially important if you haven’t used the site before.

Also, check the retailer has a postal address (not a PO box) and a landline rather than just a mobile.

Another recommendation to help you stay safe is to manually type the address of the site you want to use into your browser.

And trust your instincts!

Register your cards with your provider

I’s an extra step, but worth it. Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode should be available for your credit cards and American Express has its SafeKey.

Also, make sure no one else knows your PIN – don’t reveal it to anyone over the phone, in person or via email.

Once you’ve finished shopping

Always log out after shopping online, save the confirmation email and keep all records of your transactions. It might help to set up a separate folder in your email or on your PC for Christmas shopping 2011.

Credit cards and fraud

If you’re spending more – between £100 and £30,000 – think about using your credit card as this gives you extra protection if any fraud does occur. But make sure you don’t go crazy and can pay back the card before it starts charging you interest.

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Know your rights

If you’re the victim of card fraud, you won’t suffer any financial loss. The first thing you need to do is contact your bank or card company and then Action Fraud.

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