Shoppers and businesses warned of a surge in fraud ahead of Black Friday and Christmas: We reveal how you can protect yourself

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  • Shoppers and businesses have been warned of fraud this Black Friday
  • Credit card application fraud likely to peak during this period, says Experian
  • We reveal the top tips for protecting yourself from identity fraud

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Shoppers and businesses are being warned to expect an increase in fraudulent activity ahead of the Black Friday and Christmas shopping rush.

According to Experian, which analyzed data from the National Hunter Fraud Prevention Service, credit card application fraud is likely to peak during this period, with criminals trying to access credit using stolen personal details in real applications. want to take advantage of the growth.

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It found that fraud rates for credit card applications increased by 43 percent over the past three months – a trend predicted to continue and peak in November and December.

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Shoppers and businesses are urged to beware of fraud ahead of Black Friday this week

The rate increased by 107 percent between December 2016 and December 2020, highlighting the increasing severity of the problem.

Eduardo Castro, Head of Identity and Fraud at Experian, said: ‘The UK is facing a serious wave of fraud that shows no signs of easing and is highly likely, as many of us spend Christmas shopping. For those who are online, this trend will become even more pronounced next month.

‘The risk is to both businesses and consumers. With such volumes of digital transactions being carried out, it is vital organizations can verify that their customer information is as valid as possible, while consumers should do everything possible to keep their information secure online.

Separate research from Compare The Market, which surveyed 2,000 adults, claimed that millions of people have been victims of financial fraud in the past 12 months.

Some 9 percent of the respondents had their payment methods compromised by fraudsters in the past year, which is equivalent to about 5 million people, if the figures are extrapolated to the adult population across the country.

In 90 percent of cases, money was stolen through online fraud, and an average of £608 was lost to each victim. It said that 50 percent fell into debt as a result of theft.

Online payments accounted for 29 percent of frauds — up from 21 percent two years ago — while 19 percent were contactless payment scams and 17 percent were phishing scams.

As Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday draw closer, the comparison site is urging spenders online to be cautious.

James Padmore, Head of Wealth Than Markets, said: ‘Despite the temptation of great deals and discounts, it’s worth remembering that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

‘Some fraudsters are clever in the way they can make scams and websites look real, and with online fraud on the rise, it is important that people remain vigilant.’

Credit card application fraud likely to peak during the Black Friday and Christmas period

Credit card application fraud likely to peak during the Black Friday and Christmas period

How to protect against ID fraud

Experian has provided tips on how people can protect themselves from identity fraud this year.

• Don’t share too much personal information on social media, such as mother’s maiden name, home address or when you are away. It is important to ensure that your privacy settings are up to date on all platforms.

• When you transfer an address, always re-register in the voter list as soon as possible. This helps to ensure that your details are no longer registered at your previous address. It’s also a good idea to set up mail redirection for some time.

• Make sure you have a personal unique password for each of your online accounts. This means that fraudsters are less likely to gain access to multiple accounts.

• Make sure your home Wi-Fi has a strong password, never sign in to password-protected accounts on unsecured public Wi-Fi, and make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software

• Always be on the lookout for attachments, links or telephone numbers if you receive email or text messages. If in doubt, visit the company’s website and contact them directly.

• Check your credit report for free, at least on an annual basis, for any suspicious items. It will show any application for credit or new accounts. You can also monitor your credit score to see any significant changes.

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