Following the news of late, Backchat was relieved to receive a warning letter regarding identity theft, but somewhat amused to find it deposited among a smouldering pile of junk mail.

Credit report provider Callcredit has advised against “giving fraudsters an early Christmas present” by failing to protect their identity when shopping online.

Callcredit warns that if people “aren’t careful with their identity, this increase in spending could be matched by an increase in identity theft”.

A surprise in your Christmas stocking if ever there was one.

Owen Roberts, fraud expert at Callcredit, said: “If you were shopping on the high street you wouldn’t leave your wallet open, and we advise that you don’t do the same online.”

So much for the Christmas spirit – but Backchat will certainly bear it in mind.