A worrying one in nine Brits has been a victim of credit card fraud, according to research by Uswitch. But what is credit card fraud, and how can you protect yourself against common scams? Let’s take a look at what the research shows.
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How common is credit card fraud in the UK?
This kind of fraud is very common, unfortunately. In fact, according to the research by Uswitch, the UK has the highest rate of credit card fraud in Europe, with an average of £8,908 (€10,414) lost per 1,000 Brits. From Uswitch’s own UK-wide poll, we learned that:
- 50% of respondents have lost money through fraud
- 45% of respondents have suffered identity theft at some point
The most troubling part of all this? Despite the evidence, one in five Brits assumes that credit card fraud won’t affect them. So, although fraud is a hugely common problem in the UK, there’s a worrying amount of complacency.
With all this in mind, here’s how you can detect fraudulent activity and shop more safely online.
How can I spot credit card fraud?
This kind of fraud is not always easy to spot, but here are two of the best ways to detect fraud.
- Check your credit report regularly. If you notice unusual activity, this could be a sign of fraud.
- Look over your bank and credit card statements. Spot a transaction you don’t recognise? Report it right away.
Your bank can give you more information on detecting fraud and phishing scams.
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Where do I report credit card fraud?
To protect your card and secure your account, it’s important to act quickly.
- Contact your credit card company. They’ll block your card so no one can use it, and they’ll explain what happens next.
- Report the incident to Action Fraud. This can help keep other people safe from common online scams.
How do I avoid becoming a victim of fraud?
Whether you’re trying to prevent credit card fraud or identity theft, there are a few steps you can take to stay safer:
- Be careful where you shop: Before you buy anything online, make sure it’s a legitimate website. If you’re in any doubt, shop elsewhere.
- Don’t share personal information on social media: Be careful how much information you share on social media platforms (e.g. your home address or telephone number).
- Use strong passwords: Strong passwords include a mixture of numbers, letters and symbols. You should change your passwords regularly and always keep them safe.
- Avoid clicking unknown attachments: Received an email you weren’t expecting? Don’t click any links or open any attachments – it could be a phishing scam.
- Don’t let anyone take your credit card: If you’re in a pub or restaurant, don’t let your server take your credit card away to process payment. Ensure you can see your card at all times.
- Only use https websites: If a URL opens with ‘https’, it’s an encrypted website, which means your private data is more secure.
There’s no doubt that credit card fraud is a huge concern for everyone, but it’s still possible to shop safely online. Just ensure you’re aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your data when you use the internet. Check your statements regularly, too, and flag up any concerns with your bank.
And finally, remember this: if anything feels ‘wrong’, trust your instinct. Don’t complete the transaction. Instead, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
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