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With only a few weeks until Christmas, you've not got long left to make sure everything's ready for the big day. If you want to avoid the shops and long queues, you might be planning on doing most of your shopping online.

While this can be more convenient, you could be putting yourself at risk of fraud. To make sure you know how to stay safe online this festive season, we're taking you through how to protect yourself. 

Protect your card details

You'll probably use your debit or credit card more over Christmas than at any other time in the year. To make sure your card details don't fall into the wrong hands, remember to:

• keep your cards with you at all times,

• check your bank statements regularly,

• sign new cards as soon as you get them, and

• shred your statements and receipts or store them safely.

There are a number of ways a fraudster can try to get their hands on your card details - the card courier scam is just one example. 

Watch out for counterfeit goods

There's a lot of pressure to get your loved ones the perfect gifts at Christmas. As a result, you might be more willing to take risks and not check whether a site is legitimate or not before placing an order.

To make sure you don't fall for an imposter website selling counterfeit goods, follow these tips.

• Look out for poor grammar or spelling errors on the website.

• Check that the site is secure. Look for 'https' in the URL and a padlock symbol in the web browser, when you reach the point of payment.

• Do some research on the website before using it. Look out for any posts on online forums or reviews from unhappy customers.

• Think twice about a bargain that sounds too good to be true, as it probably is.

You can find out more about counterfeit goods on the ActionFraud website.

Know your rights

It's important to know what protection is in place for debit or credit card users. For purchases on your debit card, you can receive protection under the 'chargeback' scheme. This helps you to get your money back if something goes wrong with your purchase.

Whereas, on your credit card, you're covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act on any purchases you make over £100.

thinkmoney customers

We think it's important to remind you that as thinkmoney, we will never:

• ask for your 4 digit card PIN,

• ask you to withdraw money to hand over to us or to transfer to another account,

• come to your home to collect cash, documents or your thinkmoney debit card,

• ask you to purchase goods using your card and hand them over to us for safe keeping, or

• ask you to give us remote access to your PC or laptop.

While we will never ask for your PIN, we will text you to check a transaction that we think is unusual or to send you a One Time Passcode.

Want more advice on how to stay safe online? Head to the Take Five website.

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