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T'is the season to be ripped off...

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Online fraudsters are gearing up for the massive increase in consumer online shopping due to take place over the festive season. One in 10 holiday shoppers can expect some form of spyware, adware, or other internet attack as they conduct transactions on the web, according to net security firm PC Tools.

Last year online shoppers spent nearly $10bn during the holiday season, 24 per cent higher than the previous year. Potentially less experienced ecommerce users going online to buy presents provide an easier target for scams such as the use of fraudulent phishing emails or malware to steal confidential account information, PC Tools warns.

With the Christmas shopping season fast approaching, UK banking organisation APACS is running a webchat with two of its security experts on Wednesday (15 November) at 1300GMT at webchats.tv to pass on security advice. The webcast will feature footage of criminals using fake ATMs and readers to commit fraud, so the public know what to look out for.

While card fraud in shops and supermarkets feel 43 per cent from £73.2 million to £42.1m in the first half of 2006, progress attributed to the introduction of Chip and PIN as an alternative to authorising card payments by signatures, ecommerce and ATM fraud is on the rise.

Tips on how consumers can fight card fraud can be found at cardwatch.org.uk and banksafeonline.org.uk.

Credit cards fraud creates problems for merchants as well as consumers. Anti-fraud experts Early Warning predict that every business selling on-line will be hit by fraudulent cards, bogus addresses or other scams this season.

"A lot of businesses will be taking on temporary staff for Christmas so must be extra vigilant about protecting customer information. As you can’t always prevent credit card fraud, you should obviously do all you can to mitigate its effects", said Andrew Goodwill, managing director of Early Warning.

To combat this threat, Early Warning has launched a service called Staff Alert, which is designed to help employers weed out rogue staff members stealing customers’ personal details. ®

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