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TMCNet:  Don't give a fraudster a gift this Christmas

[December 13, 2012]

Don't give a fraudster a gift this Christmas

Dec 13, 2012 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) -- With fraud against individuals estimated to cost around GBP6.1 billion a year [1] in the UK, Barclays is urging customers to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim this Christmas.

Fraudsters can be very convincing and will use a variety of techniques to gain the confidence of their targeted victims. They gain the confidence of an individual by pretending to be from their bank, from other reputable organisations or may even claim to be from the police.

These techniques are often referred to as 'social engineering' and are used to coerce people into freely giving away security information, access to accounts or even to handing over their cash.

Thieves are no longer only after your wallet, jewellery, artwork or other precious belongings. They also want your information so they can steal money from individuals, but sometimes they don't just stop at the money in someone's account, they may also steal their identity. If a fraudster can obtain enough information from their victim, they can take out loans, make hire purchase agreements or enter into larger contracts in the individual's name.

An estimated 100,000 individuals become a victim* of identity theft every year and the affects can be devastating. As well as the financial loss, it damages your credit file, preventing your ability to buy a house or car, and can also result in victims having to completely reorganise their financial accounts.

Fraudsters will often target particular groups, predominately the elderly, who are more likely to lose almost twice as much as others. Many victims lose their life savings and suffer ill-health as a result. Regular victims may have their personal details added to a "suckers" list, which is sold amongst fraudulent marketers and targets vulnerable people.

Jim Winters, Head of Fraud at Barclays said: "Fraudsters are becoming more brazen in their attempts to steal people's money; we all need to become more security conscious. Criminals will call people directly and even turn up on their doorstep - pretending to be from their bank or from the police. Everybody needs to be aware of the scams and the steps they can take to prevent their information and their money being stolen. Remember never to give out personal or security details to callers and don't be afraid to end a phone call and ring back on a phone number from our website or from the back of your card. If it was a genuine call, our staff won't be offended." This Christmas, Barclays are giving consumers twelve top tips to ensure that this festive period brings them comfort and joy and will help to prevent them becoming a victim of fraud.

1. Protect your PIN -- Never share your Personal Identification Number (PIN) with anyone, including the police or your bank.

2. Keep security information secret -- Don't tell anyone your security details and never write them down. This includes your passwords, passcodes, PINs and card details.

3. Take care with cards -- Always keep your cards in your possession and never let them out of your sight.

4. Keep contact details up--to--date -- Ensure your bank has up-to-date mobile/telephone contact numbers for you so they can speak to you if they spot unusual or suspicious activity on your account and need to verify whether or not it may be fraudulent.

5. Keep documents safe -- Keep all your important documents, such as your passport, driving license, birth/marriage certificate, home/car insurance, in a safe place - but not all together if possible and never in the car.

6. Stay secure online -- Make sure your computer and your web-enabled phone have up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed and that it is switched on. Access your internet banking or shopping sites by typing the address into your browser, never go to a website from a link in an email and then enter personal details.

7. Shopping online -- Check the website is secure by ensuring that the security icon (locked padlock or unbroken key symbol) is showing in your browser window. Always log out after shopping and save the confirmation email as a record of your purchase. When shopping online register your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode.

8. Use powerful passwords -- Passwords should contain a mix of letters (upper and lower case) and numbers. Avoid obvious things like your name, birthday or phone number that others can guess 9. Be aware of scams -- Generally, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! 10. Manage your mail -- If you move home, inform all the relevant organisations of your change in address. Consider using the Royal Mail re-direct service for at least thirteen months to make sure all post or annual documents are forwarded to your new address.

11. Check your credit file -- Check your credit file regularly. This will help you spot any fraudulent activity that may have been conducted in your name.

12. Increased spending this Christmas -- Keep a regular check on your statement and report any unusual transactions as soon as possible.

In addition Barclays provides its customers with a number of initiatives that help to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud -- free Kaspersky internet and mobile security , , , , , .** Customers who believe they may have fallen victim to fraud on their Barclays account can call straight away on 0845 600 2323 (+44 247 684 2063 outside the UK). Lines are open Monday to Sunday 7am--11pm. For more information on how to protect yourself from being a victim of fraud click on http://www.barclays.co.uk/Helpsupportonfraud Notes to Editors: [1] National Fraud Authority, Annual Fraud Indicator March 2012 *Research - Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Group, 2008 **Internet Security Barclays Online Banking customers can receive the award-winning Kaspersky Internet Security suite (RRP GBP49.99) free and install it on up to three computers in your home (Kaspersky products are compatible with Windows ® and Mac PCs).

Mobile Security Barclays Mobile Banking customers can receive the award-winning Kaspersky Mobile Security suite (RRP GBP14.99) free of charge for one year if you use Online Banking. Available for Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile Scans for viruses, spyware, trojans, worms and bots Blocks dangerous and phishing websites Filters unwanted calls and texts Hides private contacts, calls and texts Locks your missing phone, locates it and wipes data from it Optimised for low-effect on battery life Online Statements E-statements are completely secure, free and come in the same format as a paper statement. Barclays customers can also sign up for free Text Alerts to be informed when the statement is ready to view.

PINsentry Barclays PINsentry is quick and easy to use and adds yet another level of security to Online Banking. It works inserting your Barclays debit card into a card reader, once you've entered your PIN, the card reader generates a unique security code that will need to type into Online Banking for customers to log in; make a payment to someone new for the first time or set up a new standing order.

Credit Manager Credit Manager provides unlimited access to your credit report and credit score and is available to customers through Barclays Features Store. It also gives other tools and software to help keep your personal information safe and secure online.

Barclays Online Banking Customers are automatically protected by the Online Banking Guarantee so innocent victims of fraud on their bank account will be fully reimbursed -- no matter how much money is taken from your account -- as long as Online Banking has been used correctly.

Barclays Fraud Department -- telephone number verification service To give customers that extra bit of reassurance, they are able to check our phone numbers online via Barclays Fraud Department - telephone number verification service , to make sure that they're genuine Barclays Fraud Department numbers. Whether they have received a call from Barclays and want to check its authenticity or have been given a number to call us, they can simply enter the number online and we'll validate it for them.

About Barclays Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth and investment management with an extensive international presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.com .

((M2 Communications disclaims all liability for information provided within M2 PressWIRE. Data supplied by named party/parties. Further information on M2 PressWIRE can be obtained at http://www.presswire.net on the world wide web. Inquiries to info@m2.com.

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