Credit card fraud expected to rise at Christmas

With just two weeks to go until Christmas Day, research has revealed that nine out of ten companies will not be taking additional IT security precautions over the period.

ProCheckUp warned companies that with increased traffic to e-commerce sites, reduced staff and increased hacking activity, it is even more difficult for companies to protect themselves from malicious attacks at this time.

Richard Brain, co-founder of ProCheckUp, said: "During this time, many companies have little or no network security staff working at their offices. This situation might allow successful external and internal attacks to take place, due to lack of sufficient monitoring.

"Companies need to make sure they prepare for this, by undertaking external and internal testing and ensuring that the virus patterns, and windows patches update automatically."

Further research also revealed that customers are logging on to the web in a bid to find the best deals. The British Retail Consortium revealed that shoppers are remaining cautious about parting with their cash but stores are confident that sales will not be as bad as some expected earlier this year.

Phil D'Angio, director at VeriSign, said: "Consumers are especially bargain-hungry at this time of year. While bricks and mortar stores are busy competing for consumers' attention, the fact is that consumers are now spending around a third of their cash online. Online retailers can pass the benefit of their lower overheads on to customers through lower prices, but this makes the online world particularly competitive.

"One way for e-retailers to persuade consumers to hand over their cash, without unprofitable price cutting, is to up their game when it comes to online security. Worryingly, according to our research almost one in four (22 per cent) Britons say they are being held back from shopping online this Christmas due to reservations over online ID theft and fraud, while 14 per cent said they wouldn't shop online because they don't trust e-commerce sites. These percentages represent losses that retailers could easily stem by promoting their online security credentials, and through technologies such as Extended Validation (EV) SSL Certificates."

Meanwhile card fraud is predicted to rise with over 315,000 shoppers expected to risk falling prey to card fraud during the festive season. Research by CPP revealed that one in four shoppers are worried that online orders will not arrive in time for Christmas and this could lead to less care being taken with their bank cards.

Sarah Blaney, card fraud expert at CPP, said: "More and more consumers are aware of the risks when shopping online and are vigilant about keeping their passwords and personal details safe. However, we often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the high street: a combination of crowds and pressure to find the perfect present can lead to our attention wandering."

Dr Glenn Wilson, visiting professor of psychology at Gresham College, commented: "Last minute Christmas shopping on the high street is a stressful experience. Stress affects people in many ways, both physically and psychologically. Heart rate and blood pressure rise, and there is an increase in anxiety, distractibility, confusion and forgetfulness, all of which makes people more likely to lose things, such as their bank cards, and be more at risk of theft."

The following article appears on SC Magazine. You can click here to read it in its original source.