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Doing your Christmas shopping online? Read this...

3rd December 2013
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The wine is mulled, the mince pies are out, festive jumpers have started to appear in shop windows - there’s no doubt about it, Christmas is approaching fast.

We predict that, with everyone being so busy at this time of year, a lot of your Christmas shopping will be done online. The statistics back us up – Experian is predicting that a whopping 400 million hours will be spent shopping online in the UK throughout December. This could equate to as much as £10.5bn spent in online retail transactions!

It’s great to enjoy the convenience of shopping from the comfort of our warm houses/cosy sofas, but there is a need to stay alert - especially during such a short but very busy period of the year.

With this in mind, Experian has put together a few tips on how to stay safe and protect your online identity this Christmas.

- Use different passwords for as many online accounts as possible and change them regularly.

- Do not open emails and especially links or attachments received from people you don’t know and keep your firewall’s security settings up to date 

- When on the move, be smart with your smartphone and be aware of the information that is stored on your phone – including emails that can be accessed without a password. 

- Remember that public networks and open Wi-Fi hotspots are riskier than private networks so be conscious of the information you access via mobile networks. 

- Be sensible about how much information you really need to share on social media sites. Don’t add people you don’t know and remember - what you might consider to be unimportant information like your birthday, email address or dogs name could all be misused if seen by someone outside your circle of friends.

- If the worst happens, one of the first places people often notice that they have been the victim of fraud is by spotting changes to their credit report. So monitor your credit report and also your bank statement regularly as it will help you spot any suspicious activity as early as possible to avoid financial loss.

People who think they have become victims of identity fraud should notify Action Fraud, contact their bank and check their credit report. Also, Experian's Victims of Fraud service is a dedicated team on hand to give expert advice and support tailored to victims’ particular circumstances. 

12 days of Christmas – how much a fraudster could do in that short period of time…

On the first day of Christmas I got your username and password

On the second day I gained access to your favourite online account

On the third day I tracked down your home and e-mail address

On the fourth day your e-mail gave to me the logins for ten more accounts

On the fifth day I found you use the same password for all your accounts

On the sixth day I had access to your Facebook profile

On the seventh day I had your credit card numbers

On the eighth day I did some shopping online – thank you very much!

On the ninth day I opened a credit card in your name

On the tenth day you got me a loan of £5,000

On the eleventh day I defaced your Facebook profile and changed all of your passwords

On the twelfth day of Christmas I was gone and you were left with a lot of debt and hassle…

Clearly, no one wants to have to deal with identity fraud, especially not at this time of year. So keep your details safe, be vigilant – and happy shopping, everyone!  




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