December 4, 2018
Last year, UK shoppers spent almost £80bn at Christmas with an ever-increasing amount of transactions taking place online. It’s the fraudsters’ favourite time of year. Here are some of the most common online scams which never cease to reappear, in some shape or form.
Sometimes, these retail websites will be poorly designed, but the scammers assume that enough of us will be too distracted in our rush for a Christmas bargain to notice. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of an online store, look for a phone number on the site. If it doesn’t have one, don’t buy.
Fraudsters are always keen to target those who show goodwill, and Christmas is as good a time to phish as any. If you want to give to a good cause, go through the registered charity’s own site. Never send money prompted by an email.
The fake courier
Never click on the link enclosed in an email from what you believe to be a courier with an undelivered parcel. You could download malware or be redirected to a scam site. Keep a record of your online orders at this busy time and check it off when items are delivered. Track your orders via your online retailer’s website wherever possible.
Big brand e-voucher scams
Often shared on social media or by email, these “too good to be true” offers appear to be from well-known, luxury brands. Potential victims are instructed to click on a link to claim an enormous discount however the website will simply steal your details. Always check the brand’s website for offers. If the brand is not promoting the voucher, you can be certain it is not valid.
Social media scams
Social media is rife with irresistibly good deals on high ticket items such as consumer electronics or jewellery. The links usually emanate from phishing scammers. Fraudsters love social media because of the speed with which a scam can be shared. Watch out for the scammers who are actually “friends” of your real “friends”; not everyone is as diligent about approving or rejecting “friend” requests.