Recently we took a day away from the festive mayhem to spend a little time in a simpler era. It was such a fun day out and the contrast between life then and the fast pace of life in our contemporary age, was never more obvious.
When it comes to this time of year, the pressure to do it all and be it all increases tenfold I think. We are split between responsibilities to get the presents in, prepare delicious food, wrap, attend dozens of festive activities, find costumes for the school play. (I wrote ‘make’ at first there, but who am I kidding? 😉 )
In what should be the most peaceful time of year, life is anything but.
I mean, my head is in a total spin already (it just so happens that December is also a pretty crazy work month for me, and I haven’t helped myself by leaving all my Christmas prep to the very last minute!) and I find myself forgetting things and dropping the plates, both literally and figuratively.
It’s not surprising then that this is one of the prime times of year for financial fraud. While we are juggling it all, and our minds are very much on other things, we become extra vulnerable to hoax calls and scams. I’m working with Ulster Bank this season to keep scam awareness front of mind during this busy period. It perhaps sounds a little obvious and not very festive, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind when our eyes are distracted from the ball. For me, I’m particularly conscious of passing on the message to friends and family too. Eva, for example, has her own bank account, mobile phone and email address and, even at thirteen, is a potential victim of this kind of fraudulent activity. Most of us as adults are aware of the dos and don’ts of financial fraud – never giving our PIN numbers or passwords to someone contacting out of the blue, and never feeling pressured to move money into different accounts – but as impressionable young teens, our children are perhaps not.
I’ve been sharing some of the hints and tips from Ulster Bank’s digital guide with her, such as not responding to texts from someone claiming to be your bank and covering your PIN at ATM machines (something I always forget to do myself!) Ulster Bank has worked with ScamWiseNI, PSNI and other organisations in order to develop this comprehensive guide to avoiding becoming the victim of fraud this season, and they also offer additional Financial Health checks too.
Christmas is the season of glitter and sparkle, family, food and fun. It’s the most wonderful time of the year in so many different ways. I think possibly the most important thing we can hope for in this period is safety and security though. Knowing that family and friends are not exploited and their vulnerabilities taken advantage of. It’s a never ending battle in this twenty first century society, and the more we stay informed about protecting ourselves, the better I think.
Wishing you all a really happy and healthy Christmas season!
Photos taken at The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Omagh
**Thank you so much to Ulster Bank for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.**