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Latest Online Shopping Credit Card Scam to Hit the UK

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 25 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Online Shopping Credit Card Scam

Britain has become a nation of online shoppers and shoppers in the UK outspend both US and European online shoppers. The popularity of online shopping in the UK also means that scams are prevalent with new scams being reported in the media on a regular basis.

The Rise of Online Shopping Scams in the UK

There are an estimated 33 million people in the UK using the internet to shop and access their bank accounts. This is good news for UK retailers and businesses but it is also good news for scammers. Online fraud and theft has been rising just as rapidly as the amount of people in the UK logging on to shop. In one week alone the police shut down 1200 fraudulent shopping websites. Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to dupe the public into revealing financial details when shopping online.

The Latest Sophisticated Online UK Shopping Scam

The latest online shopping scam to hit the UK uses well known security measures to fool online shoppers. Sophisticated tools enable scammers to replicate security measures used by credit card lenders. These security measures include the secure code system used by major credit cards. Security code systems such as ‘verified by visa’ and the ‘Mastercard secure code’ pages are being replicated with the intention of securing bank account details from online shoppers. The recent rise in this scam has occurred since these security measures were implemented on certain retailer’s websites.

How the Secure Code Scam Works

Online shoppers often have to punch in a security code that is a security measure provided through credit cards and debit cards. This extra layer of security is designed to simply ensure that thieves cannot use stolen credit cards and certain debit cards. But now, this security measure is being used against online shoppers. When shoppers reach the payment stage online they are then directed to another page asking for the extra security code. But scammers have managed to replicate these pages to obtain financial information and use details to make purchases online.

Information Gained through the New Online Shopping Scam

The new online shopping scam can obtain a great deal of information from unwary shoppers. Passwords, card PIN numbers and bank account details can all be obtained by scammers using this measure. Scammers may start to make online purchases, transfer cash or withdraw cash using the customer’s details. The first time customers may notice that this scam has occurred is when discrepancies appear on their monthly account statements. Banks and credit card companies claim that this type of new scam is rare, which isn’t much comfort to the people who are being scammed.

Refunds through Banks and Lenders for Online Scams

In some cases lenders are refusing to refund these fraudulent transactions as they claim the transactions were verified and approved. These security measures are the reason why lenders are not refunding money obtained using these sophisticated scam methods. This new security technology can be introduced by lenders but they can also change the terms and conditions later leaving customers liable. The credit card industry has claimed that security measures such as ‘verified by visa’ and the ‘Mastercard secure code’ systems do reduce fraud. But the credit card industry also claims that these systems are not 100% secure and genuine cases of fraud should be refunded.

Ways to Avoid the Online Shopping Scams

There are a few measures to keep in mind when shopping online. Security measures should include:

  • Always sign up for extra security measures only through the lender or banks
  • Never give personal identification numbers (PIN) details online; online shopping sites do not require this information
  • Be wary if websites repeatedly request information after it has been typed in once
  • Always look for the security padlock symbol in the address bar
  • Make sure website addresses begin with ‘https’ to ensure the page is secure
  • Security measures should be better at big brand, well known online stores
  • Make sure online retailers have physical addresses and phone numbers that can be contacted

Internet theft has become a major issue with lenders and online shoppers. As scam methods become increasingly sophisticated it can be surprisingly easy for even the most wary customer to be duped by scammers. Refunds should always be given by lenders if online fraud has occurred through no fault of the customer. Credit card companies should always be contacted as soon as the customer becomes aware of any discrepancy in their accounts.

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