Over 30 days from Black Friday to Boxing Day, the ‘Advent Calendar of Christmas Fraud’ will offer advice and tips on how to beat the fraudsters this Christmas.
More of us are booking getaways around Christmas time. But fraudsters are catching out holidaymakers with bogus offers and bookings for trips that don't exist.
Around this time of year we can all use some extra cash to make it through to Christmas and new year. Fraudsters have been known to pose as lenders offering loans with an advance fee fraud to catch out borrowers.
Many of us buy tickets for ourselves or as a Christmas gift, but online ticket scams can leave buyers out of pocket.
We’re warning shoppers looking for a bargain this Christmas to be on their guard when making purchases via online marketplaces from third-party traders.
Fraudsters have been known to cancel the victim’s payment after purchasing and instead request an international bank transfer.
To make the deal look complete, items are recorded as being delivered are signed for by individuals unknown to the victim, or in some cases the box delivered does not contain the item purchased.
Phishing and fake websites
Phishing is a method used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details, such as usernames and passwords, by sending bogus communications like emails, letters, instant messages or text messages.
Phishing messages generally try to convince the recipient that they are from a trusted source, and fraudsters take advantage of the rush to buy Christmas gifts by pretending to represent high street retailers. By including links in emails claiming to offer a festive discount or deal, victims are lured to fake websites where they're persuaded to enter personal information, login credentials or banking details that are harvested by fraudsters to commit fraud crimes such as identity theft and bank fraud.
You may also run the risk of your computer or smartphone being infected by viruses if you download attachments – around Christmas time fraudsters will claim the attachment is a voucher or coupon.
Counterfeit goods range from clothes, bags, watches, perfume, cosmetics and electrical items as well as pirate DVDs, CDs, computer software and games.
More and more people are now prepared to knowingly buy fake items as Christmas gifts, but there are serious risks involved with counterfeit goods.
Fake goods are often bad quality and in most cases unsafe. Counterfeit electrical goods are not put through the same vigorous safety checks and fake cosmetics and fragrances have been found to contain toxic levels of chemicals and unpleasant substances.
- If you purchased an item you believed to be genuine but now believe it may be counterfeit you can report it to Action Fraud.
- You can also contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 for advice or visit their website for more information.
- Your local Trading Standards office can also give you advice.
- The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a specialist national police unit in City of London Police dedicated to protecting the UK industries that produce legitimate, high quality, physical goods and online and digital content from intellectual property crime.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Last year, victims reported losing over £10 million to fraudsters when shopping online for Christmas presents, and 12,142 people said that they had been a victim of online shopping fraud during the Christmas period with 133 people saying that they had been defrauded on Black Friday and another 115 falling victim on Cyber Monday.
Fraudsters use Black Friday and Cyber Monday to target shoppers with analysis showing that mobile phones and footwear were the items most popular for victims to be defrauded when buying.