A dozen tips to help you avoid the festive fraudsters

30 Nov, 2015

As Britain hits the shops ahead of Christmas and Government figures show one in 12 of us is falling victim to scams, Nationwide Building Society has just released its 12 top tips to avoid fraudsters during the busy festive period, as follows:

  1. Trust your instincts – is that must-have toy back in stock on an unusual website? If an offer’s too good to be true, it usually is.
  2. Don’t be fooled by phony websites – make sure a website begins ‘https’ rather than ‘http’ and that it has the padlock icon in the address bar before you enter your card details.
  3. Think twice before clicking – jokey emails and videos are a Christmas staple, but think twice before clicking a link. If asked to upgrade to the latest software – don’t! It’s almost certainly malware.
  4. Don’t listen to fake IT support – bought a laptop? Got a phone call from IT support wanting to fix your router or upgrade your software? Hang up – it’s likely to be a fraudster after your personal details.
  5. Keep your details up-to-date – always ensure your building society or bank has current contact numbers so they can get in touch if they spot unusual activity.
  6. Shoulder surfing – ensure no one can see your pin when using a card at a cashpoint or till. It’s an easy target for pickpockets.
  7. Party time – at the office party, don’t be tempted to leave your card behind the bar. A heavy bar tab is one thing, but a cloned card isn’t worth the hangover.
  8. Avoid paying by money transfers – money transfers aren’t secure, and reputable sellers won’t ask you to do this. Use an online payment option such as PayPal, or a credit card which offers greater protection.
  9. Delete unsolicited emails – and don’t follow links. Fake websites with great-sounding offers can look convincing, so don’t be tempted.
  10. Keep your security software and firewall up-to-date – banks often offer free virus and firewall software via their online security centres, so make sure you’re protected.
  11. Keep receipts and check your statement – if you spot an unrecognised transaction, speak to your building society or bank straightaway.
  12. Never give out your account details – no building society or bank will ask for your personal banking details and information. If you’re being asked for them, it’s likely to be a scam.


Allan Clare, Nationwide’s Financial Crime Director, said: “Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate after a long year, but it’s also open season and a prime opportunity for canny fraudsters to take advantage of our goodwill.

“The good news is that by knowing what to look out for, we can protect ourselves. Fake emails, websites and offers are tactics commonly used by fraudsters, but can be easily avoided by deleting anything unsolicited.

“Protecting yourself against fraudulent phone calls is important too – no building society or bank will ever ask for your personal details or PIN code. If you’re being asked to provide this, hang up.