HOW TO DO YOUR CHRIST­MAS SHOP­PING SAFELY

Gloucestershire Echo - - YOUR MONEY -

■ KEEP your plas­tic safe. Out of sight of pick­pock­ets. Do not let shop as­sis­tants, bar­tenders or staff in restau­rants take it out of sight. You should be the only per­son who needs to han­dle it. ■ BE wary of those around you and en­sure you hide your PIN when tap­ping it in. Don’t be dis­tracted when mak­ing pay­ments or tak­ing cash at an ATM. Crooks use di­ver­sion tac­tics to swipe cards, purses and hand­bags.

■ AL­WAYS check cash­points for signs of tam­per­ing. Try to only use those in­side banks where there is CCTV. ■ BE care­ful which web­sites you shop at. Use trusted re­tail­ers, and make pay­ments by credit card where pos­si­ble. Look for the pad­lock sym­bol. Type in the web ad­dress, rather than us­ing links. ■ EN­SURE your de­vices are pro­tected with lat­est se­cu­rity soft­ware. Avoid un­se­cured wifi net­works on trains and in cafes.

■ GIVE your bank your mo­bile num­ber. Many banks will ask you to ver­ify by SMS if they look more likely to be fraud­u­lent.

■ FOUND out if your bank of­fers card con­trols – Lloyds Bank app users, for ex­am­ple, can freeze their card in­stantly to stop it be­ing used.

■ BE cau­tious about any un­ex­pected calls or mes­sages you re­ceive – don’t click on links or give out per­sonal de­tails, and if in doubt, call your bank us­ing the num­ber on the back of your card. Re­mem­ber a bank or the po­lice would never ask you to move funds from your ac­count be­cause of fraud.

■ CHECK your bank state­ments reg­u­larly. If you spot any­thing sus­pi­cious, then re­port it im­me­di­ately. ■ IF a price sounds too good to be true, it prob­a­bly is. Goods could be poor qual­ity, fake or non-ex­is­tent.

■ DON’T pay for goods or ser­vices by bank trans­fer un­less you know and trust the per­son. Pay­ments this way are not pro­tected if you are conned.

■ USE a strong, sep­a­rate pass­word and two fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion to pro­tect your email ac­count. Crim­i­nals can use your email to ac­cess other ac­counts, such as those you use for shop­ping.

■ EV­ERY re­port mat­ters – if you have been a vic­tim of fraud, re­port it to Ac­tion Fraud im­me­di­ately by call­ing 0300 123 2040.

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