Santa crooks want to get their claws into you
CHRISTMAS IS COMING AND CROOKS’ WALLETS WILL BE GETTING FAT WITH YOUR MONEY – IF YOU LET THEM WARNS TRICIA PHILLIPS
IT’S A jolly time of year for the unseen Santa’s little help-themselves because we are all shopping so frantically that we’re off our guard. Online, now their favourite festive haunt, they can easily swindle panic buyers with bogus websites, social media scams and auctions offering dodgy bargain deals – particularly on must-have smartphones.
Then there are clever emails, texts and phone calls teasing vital personal details out of you.
And hackers sneaking down the technological chimney well before Santa and into your computers, tablets and phones.
Not to mention big firms making their jobs even easier with data breaches.
Last Christmas was a websnatch wonderland for cyber criminals who wrapped up £11million for themselves by conning more than 15,000 shoppers, according to Action Fraud.
From games consoles and laptops to household appliances and clothing, they have a carrot to dangle in front of you on that screen of yours and will stuff you like a turkey.
And then there are the Christmas crooks who like to keep it traditional. Pickpockets in packed shops, handbag and purse pinchers in crowded streets, dishonest staff in restaurants and stores nicking your card details.
Lloyds Banking Group said it saw around 25% more card transactions in December last year, compared to 2016. Losses due to unauthorised transactions on plastic and cheques, the most common fraud type, totalled £358million in the first half of this year. Unauthorised fraud covers card theft, cloning and data breaches in which the card holder did not sanction the payment.
It now accounts for eight out of 10 fraud cases. While most of us hit the shops at Christmas, many an online crook
prefers to spend his or her spare time ‘phishing’ – sneaking usernames, passwords and credit card details out of you through emails or messages. And some are determined to have a ‘smishing’ time – a security attack in which you’re tricked into downloading a Trojan horse, virus or other spying malware onto your phone.
Despite all the warnings, so many people still fall for the bogus bank, credit card firm, taxman or police.
Meanwhile the scams become ever more sophisticated and difficult to spot.
Paul Davis, retail fraud director at Lloyds Banking Group said: “In December we see more card transactions than on any other month.
“And fraudsters are out there ready and waiting to cash in on all the busy Christmas shoppers, ready to exploit any mistakes in the blink of an eye.
“Crooks are also becoming increasingly sophisticated, changing tack all the time, with some scams so complex it can be hard to tell if you don’t know what to look for. That’s why it’s crucial for us all to stay one step ahead.”
Be sure you know you are buying from a reputable dealer when shopping online and use a credit card if possible
Beware of pickpockets when out shopping