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Cyber Monday warning: guard your credit card against fraud

Written by: Danielle Levy
Comparethemarket has warned shoppers searching for online bargains on Cyber Monday to be vigilant against potential credit card fraud.

More than £4.1bn may have been stolen from credit cards over the past year, research from comparethemarket has shown.

A survey commissioned by the company found that one in five people have been defrauded via their credit card over the past year. This equates to 11.4 million people nationwide, highlighting the rising levels of credit card cyber risk in the UK.

Comparethemarket’s Credit Card Fraud Index found that in some cases victims of card fraud had lost significant sums of money. In 45% of cases, customers found themselves out of pocket, with hackers stealing an average of £801 per person. Based on these figures, comparethemarket estimates that £4.1bn may have been stolen from the UK population in the last year.

What’s more, the company found that in some cases shoppers had not taken steps to protect themselves. For example, 19% of respondents who had been hacked admitted to not having a backup credit card.

In close to a third of cases banks had not alerted individuals to the fact they had been hacked, suggesting that levels of security may have been lax.

One of the most surprising findings was that only 6% of people who were hacked had changed their credit card provider as a result of the cyber attack, whilst close to three quarters had not even considered changing their account.

As shoppers prepare for Cyber Monday sales, Simon McCulloch, director at comparethemarket, urged banks and retailers to do more to protect customers from fraud.

“That said, people should not depend entirely on their bank’s security system, but should instead take decisive steps to protect themselves – such as having multiple passwords and checking their online credit card banking accounts regularly.

“Having a backup credit card ensures you are still able to make purchases, even if another account is frozen by fraud,” he added.

How to protect your card online

Here are comparethemarket’s top tips for staying safe online:

  • Have different PIN numbers
  • Change passwords for your online account regularly
  • Check your credit card statement for suspicious activity
  • Avoid making credit card payments on an open WIFI network
  • Keep your personal details secure
  • Check the website address begins ‘https://’ rather than ‘http://’
  • Register your cards with Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode to protect your card from unauthorised use
  • Don’t accept friend requests from strangers on social media website

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