It’s an unfortunate fact that, for most of us, a Merry Christmas will involve a bit of expense.
All that festive cheer and those family gatherings won’t pay for themselves, which is why so many people in the UK turn to their flexible friend.
Of course, ‘spending’ is out of the question if you become a victim of credit or debit card fraud.
However, the experts at moneyguru.com are here to share their top tips on how to avoid the unwanted stress and keep those fraudsters at bay this Christmas:
* 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.
* 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?
* 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. 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.
* Avoid entering your card details on a public or shared computer, as details 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.
* 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, so stay clear of the scammers!
* Make sure you let your bank know 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 arrived home could be fraudulent.
* To ensure that you and your plastic stay safe this festive season, make sure you do what you can to prevent fraudulent behaviour. Your bank or building society will have a contact number if you do come across suspicious activity or fall victim to fraud, so make sure you contact them as soon as you can.