Shop safer online is urging caution during the online Christmas shopping frenzy. 

Visa Europe thinks £320 million will be spent on its cards alone as online transactions top 6.8 million, an increase of 21% on last year, making December 3 this year the busiest online shopping day in history.

Dominic Blackburn, Product Director of said “It’s easy to get carried away in the Christmas rush, but if legitimate e-retailers are going to be busy, then so will fraudsters.

“If you’re buying from members of the public or from small businesses, we urge you check out their validity as businesses or their identity as individuals – and the best way of doing that is by confirming their address. If their address cannot be found there is reason to question their authenticity.”

“Online auction and classified sites are also open to abuse, which is worrying when people seek to cut their Christmas spend by chasing bargains,” added Blackburn.

“Online shoppers must be aware of whom their transacting with at all times, and database is designed to help you spot a fake name, website or questionable business.”

Use to

  • Verify a seller’s name and address:’s free directory enquiries and millions of records on the Edited Electoral Roll will verify their contact details – something fraudsters are keen to hide.
  • Understand the company you’re dealing with: provides access to company credit reports, and third party web references. When checking out a UK company credit report on you can see if there have been county-court judgements against that business – useful to know if you’re about to hand over money.
  • Access Company and Director find reports and get more background on the business.
  • Are you dealing with a business or individual? Utilise’s business records to pinpoint where they are, and what they do.’s warning came as Action Fraud urges shoppers to think about security, especially when using unfamiliar websites offering deals that appear too good to be true.

Action Fraud advises online shoppers to:

1. Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to believe then there is usually a catch. Legitimate popular technology and designer items are rarely discounted.

2. Check the URL in the web browser. Don’t be fooled by spoof websites where the fraudsters slightly change the address.

3. Ensure the website address begins ‘https’ at the payment stage – this indicates a secure payment.

4. Don’t access links in unsolicited emails, always type in the website address or use a search engine to find a site.

5. Only deal with reputable sellers – only use sites you know or ones that have been recommended to you.

6. Avoid paying by money transfers – they aren’t secure. Use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.

7. Watch out for pop-ups appearing asking you to confirm your card details before you are on the payment stage. Never enter your PIN number online.

8. If your bid for an online auction item is unsuccessful, don’t be tempted to trade off-site if another seller approaches you with a similar item. This is likely to be a scam and you won’t be covered.

9. Keep security software and firewalls up-to-date. Regularly update your internet browser when a new patch is released.

10. Keep receipts and check these against your statement – if you spot a transaction you did not authorise speak to your card company immediately. If you are the innocent victim of any type of card fraud you will not suffer any financial loss.