Are we in danger of losing the war with fraudsters this Christmas?

Festive fraud victims across the UK could be set to lose an estimated £1.3bn this Christmas, according to new research. 1

With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with more and more of us planning to do our Christmas shopping online, we’re being warned to be careful when buying gifts this year.

Shopping for convenience?

We all know what it’s like when it gets closer to Christmas. It’s a really busy time and it can be hard to find space in the diary to do all the shopping for gifts, decorations, food and drink. That’s why more and more of us turn to shopping online, as it gives us the convenience to shop at any time of the day or night from the comfort of our homes.

It’s not surprising then that online fraudsters see this time of year as a perfect opportunity to strike and it’s thought that more than a quarter of all online scams happen over the Christmas period.

Victims are said to be losing on average £893 each, which is more than double the average amount many of us are planning on spending on Christmas presents, entertainment, food and drink.2

Would you know if something wasn’t quite right?

When you’re short of time and want to get your shopping done quickly, it’s easy to forget to pay attention to the site you’re buying things from and to check whether the site is legitimate and above board.

It’s knowing what to check for as well. Four out of ten (38%) online shoppers surveyed either didn’t know, or weren’t sure how to identify a secure website when doing their shopping online.3

Here’s some tips to help you stay safe whilst shopping online this Christmas:

Look out for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar on retailers’ websites

A trick fraudsters use is to set up copies of genuine websites, as they think people won’t realise that it’s not the real deal. The padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar will show you that a website is legitimate.

When it comes to the stage where you have to put in your payment details, make sure to check that the padlock is there, as this’ll show you that the transaction is secure.

Watch out for deals that seem too good to be true

Another tactic fraudsters use is to send unsolicited emails or target you via social media offering free vouchers or money off deals that seem too good to be true. Be wary if you see any offers like this, as they may be geared up to take you to a rogue website.

Never use public Wi-Fi to purchase Christmas shopping

Security on public Wi-Fi networks can often be pretty slack and in some cases non-existent. Fraudsters know this and will often target those using public Wi-Fi to intercept any personal information. If you’re buying anything from your phone, make sure you do so through a secure network.

Don’t give out your PIN or online banking password

A legitimate website would never ask you to do this. If you’re ever asked for these details leave the site immediately and don’t submit any of your personal information.

Keep a regular eye on your bank balance and credit report

By keeping an eye on your bank balance and your credit report, you’ll be more likely to spot if there’s anything on there that’s no quite right. The sooner you can spot any fraudulent activity the better, so you can stop the fraudsters in their tracks.

We hope you find these tips helpful and don’t come across any problems when shopping online this Christmas. For more advice and information around protecting yourself against identity theft and fraud, visit our Help Hub.

1 Research carried out by Barclays Bank, surveying 2,006 nationally representative adults in September 2017 – http://www.newsroom.barclays.co.uk/r/3544/barclays_warns_uk_faces_most_fraudulent_online_christmas

2 The Barclays research showed that people plan to spend £422 on presents, food, drink and entertainment this Christmas

3 Statistic taken from Barclays Bank research – http://www.newsroom.barclays.co.uk/r/3544/barclays_warns_uk_faces_most_fraudulent_online_christmas