As Christmas draws closer and people are shopping online for gifts, the UK’s leading payment specialist allpay Limited shares its top tips for avoiding fraud. At a time of year when online shopping thrives, financial transactions are taking place all the time. People’s bank details are left vulnerable to tech savvy fraudsters, who are developing increasingly creative ways to access the information they want. In order to help protect its customers over the festive period, allpay Limited shares five crucial steps that consumers should take before parting with their hard earned cash online.
- Protect your computer – The first thing that you must do, before you even consider shopping online for a present, is to protect your computer against hackers, malware and viruses. This is easy to do and can be achieved by simply running a quick update and downloading any recommended software. Protection can come in the form of a firewall or antivirus and antispyware software. There are many options available to download free from the web, so cost is no excuse for avoiding basic defence.
- Look for the padlock icon – When visiting a website, if the padlock icon does not appear in the browser or beginning of the web address, do not share any personal information on the site. A lack of padlock indicates that you are not using a secure link and that the site could be vulnerable to fraud.
- Use a prepaid card – Rather than use a credit card or debit card to make a purchase online, why not use a prepaid card? The prepaid card will not be connected to your bank and if the worst should happen you will only lose the amount equal to the limit of the card and no more. A prepaid card is PIN protected in the same way as other cards but won’t run up credit at your expense and is not vulnerable to identify theft.
- Password protect – Password protect your bank account, your mobile phone and any other channels that could be at risk from online fraud. Make sure that you use a different password for each account and that any records are kept somewhere secret, preferably offline.
- Avoid risk – If the price of a Christmas break or designer handbag for your loved one appears too good to be true, it probably is. Do not allow yourself to be sucked in by appealing, cheap deals that could be the handy work of a fraudster.
Nick Peplow, bill payments director at allpay Limited, said “All too often, people are falling for scams online. Seemingly good Christmas deals on trips away, days out and “must have” gifts mean customers are rushing to purchase and not thinking carefully enough about the safety of their personal information. The team has decided to share our top tips for avoiding fraud and hope this will help to protect our customers by encouraging caution online.”