Halloween may have just gone, but Christmas is just around the corner. All the signs are there: the Starbucks cups have turned red, Santa has started to appear on coke cans and endless tins of biscuits and crackers have magically started to stack up in the supermarket. It might seem like they’re all jumping the gun a bit, but honestly, we’ll all be pulling crackers and complaining about left-over turkey in no time…. yippee!
The only problem with Christmas is all the endless shopping that comes before the big day. For many years this was defined by a seemingly endless battle through crowded shops, playing an odd game of hide-and-seek meets chicken with your fellow consumers, punctuated by the thousand yard stare worn by every shop assistant you just so happen to encounter. It’s probably no wonder that more and more people have decided to start doing their shopping online.
Internet shopping certainly does have its virtues – it’s quick, often easy and you usually get more flexibility in sizes and types than you do in the shops. However for the unwary, the internet has some serious pitfalls that are enough to ruin anyone’s festive season, and the one of the biggest threats out there continues to be online fraudsters.
Despite massive efforts to tackle them, online scammers remain a real danger to internet shoppers. According to figures released Financial Fraud Action UK, fraud cost the British public more than £600m in 2013. Criminals are constantly coming up with smarter and smarter ways to trick people out of their money, employing methods as varied as malware, identity theft and card skimming to target people as they shop online.
The thing about fraud though, is that education really solves everything. It sounds like common sense, but the more people who know about a scam the less effective the scam is. With that in mind, NatWest has produced a new How to Fight Fraud Tool which is available for everyone to use.
An easy to follow breakdown of all the most common cons, swindles and rip-offs, the aim is to help consumers understand the tactics that criminals are using, and more importantly, learn how to protect themselves.
So good luck Christmas Shoppers and may the presents be with you!
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post