Don't let fraudsters ruin
your festive fun
POLICE Detectives are urging members of
the public to not let fraudsters ruin their festive fun this year by avoiding
falling victim to the 12 online frauds of Christmas. The run up to Christmas
tends to be a busy time for shops and stores across Merseyside but millions of
pounds are also spent online by shoppers keen to get a bargain or treat a loved
Detective Inspector Helen Bennett said:- "The festive season and Christmas
shopping can be a busy and stressful time but by taking a few extra minutes to
make additional checks on the things you are buying means you have the peace of
mind that your purchase; and your bank account; is safe and secure. Thousands of
pounds will be spent in the next few weeks, both in shops and online, but people
shouldn't be complacent when they spend their hard earned money. We want people
to enjoy themselves but stay safe online at the same time. We would advise
people to follow some basic tips and look at the Get Safe
online website. A few simple checks
now will save a financial hangover in the new year."
Here are some top tips to avoid falling foul of the 12 online frauds of
► Online shopping fraud; During December around 50% of people in the UK are
expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their presents. As with
every purchase if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Buy from
reputable sellers and make sure you use an authentic website, check payment
pages are secure and wherever possible pay by credit card.
► Christmas e-Cards; An increasing number of Christmas cards are being sent via
email. Don't open attachments or click on links in festive emails, text or
social media posts you are not expecting, as they could be scams. The email could
also contain a virus that will embed itself onto your electronic device and
collect your personal data.
► Auction fraud; Auction sites are a popular way to buy Christmas presents. While
the majority of items on sale are genuine fraudsters use the festive period as a
chance to ?sell' popular items such as smartphones and designer clothing. Always
research a seller before you bid, be cautious when buying from sellers abroad
and use recommended methods of payment rather than transferring money direct to
► Holiday fraud; Just like any other time of year many people like to book a break
over the festive season. Research your trip thoroughly and only book with a
reputable travel company; always pay with credit card and use companies that are
ABTA or ATOL protected.
► Loan and investment scams; There is an increase in online loan appeal
applications at this time of year as people seek to cover the costs of the
festive period. Research any loan companies online before making any financial
commitment and always read the terms and conditions. Never set up or a loan or
investment which starts with a cold call.
► Ticketing fraud; If you want to buy concert or event tickets as a Christmas gift
be careful who is selling them and only buy from official sellers to save being
disappointed. Only look at tickets from reputable websites that are secure (show
a padlock) and avoid entering bank or credit card details on public or shared
► Donating to charity; The festive period is traditionally a time when charities
seek donations. Most are legitimate but to be safe visit the charity's website
into your browser rather than clicking on a hyperlink embedded in an email and
do not respond to requests to donate money through a money transfer company such
as Western Union or Moneygram.
► Mobile malware / malicious apps; if you are buying a new phone or laptop ensure
you protect yourself by using a pincode or password, only download apps from
official app stores and install anti virus software.
► Money transfers; Never send a money transfer for an online purchase. Never send
money in advance to obtain a loan or credit card and never provide banking
information to people or businesses you don't know.
► Social media scams; Most adverts placed on networking sites such as Twitter and
Facebook are genuine but some frauders advertise giveaways in the hope people
will click on bogus adverts and be redirected to a website full of scams. Do not
have too much personal information on social media accounts which could allow
your bank accounts to be compromised.
► Dating romance / fraud; Many singletons will be making a New Year's resolution to
find their ideal partner and sign up to an online dating website. Always guard
your privacy when chatting online and never send money or give credit card or
online account details to anyone you don't know or trust.
► Mobile payments; More and more people are using mobile devices to make
purchases. Do not save passwords or financial data onto your mobile device
unless it is absolutely necessary and do not leave your Bluetooth on as
cyber criminals can hack into your device unnoticed.
If you have fallen prey to fraudsters, report it by contacting Action Fraud. Go
to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud reporting centre's
or call them on 0300 123 2040.