Cybercriminals are incredibly adaptable (especially at Christmas) so expect to receive fake alerts via email, text or social media about things in the news like adverts on half price Electrical Items or a text from the post office or another Delivery company telling you your parcel couldn’t be delivered.  Each will ask you to click a link to provide personal details. Stay alert and don’t respond!

When shopping online to get those important presents, we tend to start with the shops we know and trust but if we can’t get what we want, people tend to cast their nets a little wider to shops that we don’t recognise or click on link from social media. This opens the door for fraudsters advertising ‘in-demand’ items. It’s quite easy to clone a website so be careful which ones you visit.

Remember, the internet is awash with fake goods. One of the main tell-tale signs is if the product is suspiciously cheap. Look out for the ‘s’ in ‘https’ at the beginning of a website address that identifies the website as secure. No ‘s’, no shopping!

Get the warning bells ringing! Don’t let criminals ruin the festive spirit

  1. Fake websites
    Using the web to buy Christmas presents? Criminals set up fake websites that look identical to steal your personal details and money. Secure website addresses start with ‘https’ and display a locked padlock.
  2. Scammer on Etsy, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace and other social media platforms
    Scammers are very sophisticated and tend to have adverts offering cheap holidays, sales of the latest gadgets or discounts on other big ticket items.  Be careful who you are buying from. 
  3. Fake charities
    Watch out for criminals using a legitimate charity’s name and appealing on their behalf, for a donation. If suspicious, ask to see their official charity ID which they’re required to carry. TRUST your instincts.
  4. Refund scams
    You may receive an email or text pretending to be from HMRC, your local Council or a well-known store promising a credit or tax refund and a link to click to claim the money back. They’ll ask for bank details. DON’T give them out.
  5. Fake calls from your Bank
    Criminals pretending to be from the fraud department of your Bank and say there is a problem with your account and ask you to move money.  Hang up and call the phone number that is shown on your Bank card and ask to be put through to the fraud department or visit the Branch.  
  6. Phone scams
    Criminals ring you to discuss a topic then ask you to press a number on your phone keypad to ‘opt out’ of a survey for example. It will generate extreme charges which the criminals will profit from. Just put the phone down.
  7. IT support scams
    IT support scams could be via a phone call or email stating there is something wrong with your computer and needs fixing. They will try to direct you to a bogus website. Companies like Microsoft will NEVER call you directly.
  8. Fake romance
    Looking for festive love online? Criminals are. The relationship develops over time and the individual is convinced to make payments to the criminal – DON’T pay them anything. They’re also after your identity. Guard your privacy.
  9. Shopping scams
    Love top brands with low prices? Stay vigilant for counterfeit goods. These range from poorly made clothes to dangerous electronics which fail to comply with safety laws. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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