Don’t be caught out! Christmas scams are becoming ever more prevalent as, what becomes more convenient for shoppers, also creates opportunities for fraudsters.
Fraud and security may be the last thing on consumers’ minds as they get ready for the end of year festivities, however criminals have been planning the whole year to take advantage of the holiday season – their most profitable period. This time last year, fraudsters stole £11 million from Brits through online scams.
What makes consumers vulnerable?
With everyone rushing to buy that perfect gift in time for Christmas Day, more and more people are buying goods online than ever before. The value of online shopping has more than doubled in the past five years and now accounts for nearly £1 in every £5 we spend.
However, TSB’s research reveals that while 86 per cent of consumers feel safe shopping online, only 26 per cent could identify a fake or “phishing” website.
With over half of Christmas shopping budgets (56 per cent) expected to be spent online, everyone needs to be more fraud savvy.
So, don’t let Christmas Scams con you this Christmas…
Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, shares his top tips to protect yourself from fraud this festive period:
- Desperate to get that ‘must-have’ toy, and you finally find one in stock? Ask yourself if that’s too good to be true. Do you recognise the website? Trust the retailer? Is the price just too tempting? Remember – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
- Fraudsters will list products for sale that don’t exist. Are all the images copied from a web search? Poor seller reviews? Being asked to make a payment outside of the auction site’s normal process?
- Treat an electronic payment like you would cash – don’t send one to somebody you don’t know and trust. Always use a trusted website, and stick to their recommended payment process. Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check the domain name to ensure there’s an ‘s’ on the end of ‘http’ which indicates the site is secure.
- Out of ideas for presents? Many of us turn to the trusty gift card as a back-up. But is it trustworthy? Scammers offering discounted gift cards might well be selling you one they’ve already used. Only buy gift cards from a reputable retailer, or direct from the company they’re for.
Above everything, stop and think before you click. Fraudsters thrive on stressful or rushed situations, because we’re less likely to think things through before making a payment or surrendering our information.
Always give yourself enough time to make a good decision – and don’t give a fraudster a gift this Christmas.
Expert Opinion from Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB