The National Fraud Authority has published research indicating that women in the 26 to 35 age range are most vulnerable to online credit card fraud, chiefly because only 8% of those surveyed had taken any effective action to protect themselves with anti-virus software.
Leading credit card organizations in the UK have developed services that are designed to help consumers protect themselves from fraud, including the campaign Be Card Smart Online, aimed this year at the group of young women who either don’t know or don’t care about keeping their personal computers and other electronic communications protected against viruses and spyware.
The site offers tips on safe shopping that no one can really afford to ignore. A few of the simplest and most effective precautions that can be taken are outlined, and the campaign is supported by the NFA as a good source of information for anyone shopping or banking online. Though the incidence of credit card fraud has dropped about 40% over the past two years due to greater consumer awareness and initiatives by financial institutions, the data still shows losses of well over 365 million pounds last year.
The first line of defence is protective software; you should make sure it is installed and kept up to date; set your programs so the latest security updates are downloaded automatically. Keep pop-up blockers on and keep the security level on your browser(s) as high as possible without slowing the function down significantly.
When you are shopping, make sure you know who you’re dealing with; one way is by typing in the specific address rather than jumping from links on other websites. Also, look for the padlock symbol, especially on an unfamiliar website; it’s a good indication that the retailer is reputable.
There are a great many things you can do to reduce the odds of becoming a victim of fraud. These and many more good tips are currently available at www.becardsmart.org.uk and at various shopping websites, so be smart and take advantage of all this free information.