Today’s ‘Black Friday’ sales signal the start of the frenzied Christmas shopping rush in the UK, and a further flurry of online deals are set to make ‘Cyber Monday’ the busiest day of the year for internet purchases.

But record-breaking levels of spending over the weekend will be matched by corresponding levels of card crime as cheeky fraudsters enjoy their own Christmas bonanza. Credit card fraud is expected to be a whopping 23% up on normal levels.

Comparison website reckons the crooks will fraudulently spend around £207,000 on other people’s cards on Black Friday. And that’s just a gentle warm-up exercise ahead of Cyber Monday, when they’re expected to continue their illicit spending spree to the tune of £515,000.

That all adds up to a mahoosive £722,000 – and if you’re not quite sure how many Christmas prezzies you could snap up for your nearest and dearest with that kind of dosh at your disposal then here are a few ideas.

A serial bigamist might very reasonably use the weekend’s proceeds of card crime to snap up 294 engagement rings at an average price of £2451 each. Alternatively, he could keep his ladies sweet with 17,190 bottles of decent perfume, on time with 2786 designer rose gold watches, or snug between the sheets with 28,800 pairs of pyjamas. And why not?

The technically minded might prefer to blow £722,00 on 2068 games consoles or 1808 tablet computers. Or, to stretch it a little further, why not blow the dough on 65,636 sock gift sets or a whopping 1.4 million packs of chocolate coins?

“Online shopping is generally safe, and makes Christmas shopping so much more convenient, but it’s just important that people keep their passwords safe and card details secure to prevent fraud,” points out‘s Claire Peate.

And what do you know? With more than 50 per cent of spending now being done on credit cards, the kindly comparison site has put together some top tips to help you keep your purchases secure over the festive season. For starters, they suggest using a credit card rather than a debit card for large online purchases – you’ll be better protected financially if anything goes wrong.

Before entering details on a website make sure you’re in a secure area by checking for the padlock icon and ‘https’ in the address bar. And if you get registered with ‘Verified by Visa’ or ‘MasterCard SecureCode’ you’ll get extra protection when shopping online.

And finally, remember to always log out of your accounts because many will otherwise save your details – meaning the next person to use your computer might be able to sneakily get into your account. 

To shop till you drop with added peace of mind, read’s guide here.