Collaboration with Dynasty Partners Winter is not only cold, but also the most expensive time of the year for homeowners. Heating costs go up, but if you aren’t prepared, your money will also go up and out the window. However, winter doesn’t always have to translate to high heating bills, not when there are several…
Back in the old days credit card scams were confined firmly to the real world. The world-wide-web has complicated things somewhat. The official Retail Crime Survey puts the figure of online crime at £205m in 2011/12. Between using credit cardsto buy goods online and in the more traditional manner there is now double the number of ways to get scammed. It is best to remain vigilant. So here are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t get caught out.
Don’t respond to unsolicited emails looking for money
Phising is one of the most common online scams. The basic idea is that people target potential victims with fake internet sites or emails pretending to be someone they are not and get them to enter personal details such as credit card numbers, bank account details, passwords and that sort of thing. Generally it’s pretty easy to spot these sorts of scams in their most basic form. The sort of email that begins with the line “Dear Mister, can I have some money?” or something to that effect should definitely get your spider-sense tingling. Email phising is getting more sophisticated though and often bank logos are incorporated, names are personalised and threats of “compromised data” are made to scare people into revealing information.
Often this kind of online fraud can play on the heartstrings and will land in your inbox after a natural disaster or a well-publicised tragedy and come with a plea to “please help the victims of…”
The offline version of this is called application fraud where someone assumes a false identity to get access to a person’s credit card or bank details. This can happen in person or over the phone. Often the fraudster will say they are calling from your bank and request your pin number or something like that.
There’s a simple rule to work with here though. Don’t respond to any unsolicited email looking for money, ever and don’t give out your information to anyone you don’t trust.
If a deal is too good to be true…
There are plenty of times when you will actively want to (and probably need to) make purchases online. There are a few things you need to watch out for when it comes to the internet and spending. Make sure you trust the website and it is definitely the correct website. Occasionally you will come across a site that uses a similar name to another more popular one. For instance: amazon.com might become amezon.com or something like that. Whenever you make a purchase online, ensure the URL has https:// at the start of the address rather than http:// the “s” stands for…
Do some research
Another thing to watch out for is online auction scams. This is when an auction is started for an expensive good on a reputable site like, for instance, eBay. Once someone has successfully bid for the product and their money has been transferred an inferior (often counterfeit) product is sent to them.
In these cases you must be careful to check the seller’s online history and, where appropriate, reviews of the seller. Most sites have seller reviews (again beware if they don’t), so do your homework before entering online auctions or into any deal with an online merchant.
Update your credit card
Of course it’s not just online scams that are a problem; there are still plenty of offline scams that can ruin a good bank balance quicker than you can say “credit card scam”. British holidaymakers were recently hit by a group of credit card fraudsters who employed a network of dodgy waiters and shop assistants to clone people’s cards. They were able to exploit the fact that a number of Britons have yet to change to a chip-and-pin based system. The old magnetic strip way of doing business is far easier to clone. Moral of the story: make sure your card has the latest security updates and make life difficult for credit card fraudsters.
We want to hear what your credit card guilty pleasure purchase. NatWest and I have teamed up to bring you a£60ASOS Voucher for the person who can tell us what the “S” in “https//” stands for?
For the chance to win the competition, please answer in the question in the comments below and tell us WHY you deserve to win the £60 Asos voucher!
Closing date: Monday the 27th of January