From fake online shopping websites, to false delivery notices, phishing emails and so much more, clicking one wrong link and filling in your details could put many people at risk of Christmas scams – causing identity theft or fraud.
With many scam messages and adverts circulating, here’s some tips to help you try avoid those pesky scams this Christmas time:
Seeing a great deal online can be tempting, but it’s important to make sure the website you’re shopping from is legit. To check the reliability of the website, ensure the URL correctly spelt, for example “amazon.co.uk” vs “amzaon.co.uk”. Scammers are likely to mimic the layout of the website they are copying so ensure the URL is the correct one.
Check trust pilot scores and read reviews from customers who have shopped previously. Real life customers will have left reviews on the product quality, customer service and more. You can also check if a website is secure by the lock symbol on the left of the URL.
Finally shop from a store’s official website and stick to known retailers of official apps, this ensures they will stick to their promises of fulfilling orders and deal with any problems professionally.
Unusual delivery texts and emails
With many of us expecting deliveries within the next couple of weeks, fraudsters are keen to send out fake emails stating that your delivery will be delayed, or even that you need to pay for postage to receive your item.
Many of these texts include a link that some may fall for and believe is the true website and may include a form for the scam artists to steal your personal information.
To avoid falling into this trap, make sure you never click on any suspicious link in messages you receive. If curious whether the message is real, contact the shipper directly but do not interact with the email. Make sure you don’t enter any of your personal information and block the sender to avoid these type of Christmas scams.
Facebook Marketplace scammers
Facebook Marketplace is a popular place to shop in recent times, with local businesses and people selling their goods. However, many scammers use the platform to make money whilst never sending a product out.
To avoid this, ensure you read reviews left by others on the seller’s profile. If the price is too low or seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It is also vital not to pay for items outside of the Facebook platform, transactions on third-party sites can be harder to track and get back if the item does end up being fraudulent.
Social Media Ad Scams
Many scammers use social media to lure in people with adverts for hard-to-find or highly sought after items for a lower price. These can be used between posts on Facebook, Instagram or X – and sometimes use celebrity faces to try and convince people the website they are selling from is real.
Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has recently complained after multiple adverts have been using his picture without consent as a way to advertise products.
These adverts can lead to fake websites where you will ask for your payment information and these then can be stolen and used.
It is important to check reviews and research sellers on websites that are on independent platforms before agreeing to purchase anything to avoid Christmas scams. This can be on Trustpilot, or Google Reviews.