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The Magic of Christmas audio book. Vol. 4 of 10 - 67min

Christmas Is A Time For Giving But Not To Fraudsters

Bank accounts and credit cards will be feeling the strain as we splash out on Christmas shopping and entertaining. It's reckoned total spending on plastic alone over the festive season will hit £32 billion in the UK.

Online shops are expecting record sales and ATMs will be working overtime as we take out cash. However the big spending will mean big opportunities for fraudsters. Most of us are concentrating on enjoying the festive season but for crooks it is an ideal time to make some extra money.

The good news is that the introduction of CHIP and PIN technology has cut the levels of fraud. In the first six months of this year it was down to £209 million. But that is still a lot of money and the bad news is that online credit card fraud is rising.

Play your cards right and stay safe

The most important advice is to not let your credit cards, or your card details, out of your sight when you are spending. When paying for goods your credit card should always remain visible, this will make copying or cloning your credit card or debit card details impossible by would be fraudsters.

It also means not throwing away receipts in the street or leaving them in restaurants or shops. Ideally you should shred everything but at least you should try to dispose of them safely.

Do not write down passwords, login details and PINs. If they are in your wallet and it is stolen it's an invitation to fraudsters.

And when you are online don't reply to unsolicited emails asking for your passwords and PINs. This is a technique known to fraudsters as phishing. Don't get caught in the net.

Guard your cards in shops and online

When you are taking cash out of an ATM or paying in a shop don't let anyone look over your shoulder to see what your PIN is. Use your spare hand to shield your card and PIN details.

When you are on the phone only give out your account details if you have made the call and you trust the company you are dealing with. If they phone you they should not ask for your account information, so do not let it slip if you weren't expecting the call.

You can register your credit cards with Verifiied by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode. Ask your bank or credit card provider about these services. You can register online but of course if you do register keep your password safe and secure.

When you go to your bank's website always type in the address yourself. Don't click through from emails.

And only use websites which have a security icon on them. This will be a locked padlock or an unbroken key in the bottom of your browser window.

If it all goes wrong

One in three people in the UK have been credit card fraud victims and a card fraud takes place every nine seconds. So you're not alone.

If you have been caught tell your bank or building society immediately and report the theft or loss to the police immediately.

Telling the police will make the process of getting your money back a lot easier.

Don't worry. If someone uses your credit card before you tell the bank or building society then the most you will have to pay is £50. However some companies take a tough line so you need to be able to prove you were not negligent (which may not be as easy as it seems). That means, for instance, not giving away your PIN to others and not being careless with receipts.

What Next?

Our best buy tables help you compare all credit card providers not only on price but also on service levels and extras such purchase and payment protection.

Christmas Greeting Cards

Christmas Greetings are a variety of greetings that are sent to friends, family, coworkers and others around Christmas time. Christmas Greetings are said with the best of intentions. The most popular Christmas Greeting is Merry Christmas, referring directly to the joyous spirit felt by so many around the Christmas holiday.

Christmas Greetings can also be written in a Christmas card or email. Many popular Christmas Greetings are displayed on wrapping paper, ornaments and Christmas decorations. The winter months are a popular time to shop people have presents to buy and stockings to fill. Many retailers decorate their stores with Christmas-themed decorations and employees often wish shoppers Christmas Greetings throughout the holiday season.

Christmas Greetings can vary depending on cultural and religious differences. If you are unclear about what ethnic background or culture someone is, it is best to just send a card with a secular sentiment, such as Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, or Peace on Earth. If you are certain that someone does not celebrate Christmas, but would still like to let them know you are thinking of them during this holiday season, send a Thanksgiving, New Years, Hanukkah or Kwanza card instead.

The holiday season is fast approaching and now is the time to start thinking about your Christmas Greeting Cards. Most people would agree that sending Christmas Greeting Cards is as fun as receiving them. Christmas Greeting Cards are typically sent to friends and family to show them how much you care. People enjoy receiving Christmas Greeting Cards, just as much as you like to send them.

Most Christmas Greeting Cards are available in stores or online beginning in October. Planning ahead allows you to finalize who you are sending your Christmas Greeting Cards to and figure out what you are going to write for each. The more personalized your Christmas greeting card is, the better. Update your friends and family on your personal life, your spouse, your children and what you are doing at work.

Sending Christmas Greeting Cards can be a fun activity for the entire family. Children can help put stamps and return address labels on and parents can write the greetings inside the Christmas Greeting Card. It can be difficult to find just the right greeting card that combines meaningful words with inspiring images, so plan in advance and make it a fun activity for the entire family.

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