Identity fraud is the fastest-growing crime in the UK and recent gaffes have contributed to peoples' fears of becoming a victim. Callcredit has warned that customers should be vigilant as they carry out online Christmas shopping in order to avoid becoming a target for fraudsters.
"If you were shopping on the high street you wouldn’t leave your wallet open and we advise that you don’t do the same online," said the credit report provider's fraud expert, Owen Roberts.
It estimates that more than 27 million people will use the internet to purchase presents this year compared with 20 million last year. And a record-breaking £14 billion is likely to be spent online in the UK.
However, if consumers are not clued-up about potential security hazards, identity theft could rise in line with spending. Mr Roberts said: "With the average Christmas spend level at £620 for individuals without children, consumers are using their credit cards on a more regular basis to help budget for it. Not only are consumers being left with a large financial hangover in the New Year, but they are putting themselves at greater risk of becoming victims of ID fraud."
"Unless consumers start to take some preventative steps the consequences could be very damaging," he added, "It is impossible to be 100 percent safe from identity theft; fraudsters are always looking for new ways to commit ID fraud so it is essential that consumers are aware of how to protect themselves.”
Identity fraud can leave consumers open to theft, but can also destroy the person's credit rating, so it is really important people take precautions. Some helpful tips include: making sure anti-virus software is up-to-date, checking that websites visited are secure and authentic and obtaining a credit report to watch out for unauthorised activity.
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