How to Avoid Credit Card Scams

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.

ASOS Giveaway!

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

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  1. Emma C January 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Https// stands for Hyper Text transfer Protocol with secure sockets layers – I deserve to win because i think im first and I need clothes 🙂

  2. Caroline Clarke January 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm


  3. Georgina Davies January 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    It stand for secure socket layer or some people just refer to it as socket and i would love to win so i can treat myself for once without any guilt lol

  4. Caroline Clarke January 23, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I deserve to win because I’ve lost 36 lbs and need a new size 8 dress!

  5. Mark Curry January 23, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    The S stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’

  6. paul martin January 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    The ( S ) stands for secure and I should win because I am very insecure …

  7. Rebecca Richardson January 23, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    The “S” stands for Secure

  8. kymmie kitts January 23, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Secure sockets

  9. Phill Ramsay January 23, 2014 at 9:12 pm


  10. Gemma Aktekin January 23, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    The S stands for SECURE ! I could give my NW credit card a break if I win this !

  11. Zoe G January 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    It stands for secure

  12. Clint Howat January 23, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    To identify the encrypted connection, the site’s Internet address begins with the special prefix, “https,” where the “s” means “secure.

  13. MERONISHA ISMAIL-EVANS January 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    The S stands for ‘Secure Sockets Layer’

  14. Travis F January 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    The Answer is secure, which is exactly the way id feel after a lil treat on Asos courtesy of yourself 🙂

  15. Janice January 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm


  16. Paul Kendall January 23, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    S = Secure… would love to win… can’t afford anything for me or the misses since Xmas so would love to treat either of us…

  17. Darius Dragasius January 23, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    The S stands for Secure, and I deserve to win to secure the birthday present for my wife

  18. Faye waring January 23, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    S is for secure

  19. Faye waring January 23, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    S is for secure. I deserve to win because I want to buy my premmie baby some well deserved toys after spending 5 months in hospital xx

  20. Vakhida January 23, 2014 at 10:35 pm


  21. Stephen Woodgate January 23, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    ‘s’ stands for secure! A £60 Asos voucher would get me some new shoes to impress the boss!

  22. Clare MacDonald January 23, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Secure..I deserve to win because I never win anything

  23. Nicky B January 23, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    the S stands for secure, I’m guilty of buyer new clothes for work on my credit card

  24. Paula January 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    The extra S stands for “Secure Sockets Layer” and is a form of encryption that protects personal information like your credit card numbers and passwords from online thieves

  25. emma t January 23, 2014 at 10:56 pm


  26. Matt Atherton January 23, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    S in https stands for ‘SECURE’. I deserve to win as my wardrobe is soo out of date. I have trainers I still wear which I bought in New York in 2003!

  27. Andy Hayes January 23, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    It stands for Secure (as in Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure).

  28. David Holland January 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Secure 🙂

  29. Mary Chez January 23, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    The “S” stands for secure . I would like to win because I would like to treat myself to some new clothes

  30. julie laing January 23, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    secure, and i need new clothes

  31. Kathryn Hill January 23, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    The ‘S’ stands for secure 🙂 I deserve to win please because there are so many beautiful dresses on ASOS and every girl deserves to treat herself.

  32. Gillian Shiels January 23, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    The ( S ) stands for secure and I should win because I really need some new clothes but can’t afford anything at the moment.

  33. Victoria Carr January 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Because I need a few items for my spring wardrobe 🙂

  34. Sarah Bailey January 24, 2014 at 12:45 am

    The S stands for secure

  35. Matt Gallafent January 24, 2014 at 12:58 am

    the s stands for Secure, And i should win, because i am in desperate need of some new clothes!

  36. Karis January 24, 2014 at 1:54 am

    The S stands for secure, and I deserve to win because I desperately need new clothes.

  37. Isabel Marie Baker (Izzy Mse Baker on facebook ) January 24, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Secure ….. I would L <3 V E to win as i need some nice new warm clothes.Thank you for such a fabulous competition 🙂

  38. Phil Darling January 24, 2014 at 6:32 am

    The “s” stands for Secure

  39. Claire Bodin January 24, 2014 at 6:43 am


  40. Kelly Koya January 24, 2014 at 6:47 am


  41. Jo welsh January 24, 2014 at 7:06 am

    S means secure

  42. Hannah Oneill January 24, 2014 at 7:38 am


  43. Adele Leek January 24, 2014 at 7:55 am

    “s” means “secure

  44. William Wright January 24, 2014 at 8:41 am

    It stands for secure.

    I would like the ASOS voucher because Im still wearing flip flops, its January, and i have cold toes.

  45. Tony January 24, 2014 at 8:49 am


    I deserve to win as I only have £6 to last me until payday. I have a job interview next week and need a new shirt

  46. Gettin256 January 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

    S stands for secure. thanks!

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