12 Christmas scams to watch out for

Last-minute Christmas preparations can be stressful, but don’t let the Christmas rush put you at risk!  Check out our tips to avoid festive scams and stay safe online.

Christmas charity scams

At Christmas, many legit charities might try to reach out to you and appeal for donations. However, be aware that some scammers will try to take advantage of this time of the year and attempt to rip you off by pretending to represent authentic charities.
Be cautious if you receive suspicious charity emails or phone calls. It is always safer to approach charities directly if you want to make a donation!

Christmas e-card scams

With the Christmas season in full swing, some scammers may take on the opportunity to send you fraudulent Christmas e-cards by email. These e-cards will probably look great, but make no mistake, behind them lies malicious software trying to access your device in an attempt to steal sensitive information. If you receive an unsolicited Christmas e-card, stay careful and avoid clicking on it!

Christmas Fake Websites scams

This year, many of us are looking to support independent websites with our Christmas shopping. However, it is crucial to make sure that the site is legit, here are a few great tips:

– Does the website’s domain name start with “https:”? This shows that a site is secure – all good ecommerce sites will have this.

– Check the site reviews, do they seem trustworthy?

– Submit the site to our fake-checker and we’ll tell you if it looks genuine!

Christmas Holiday scams

Although travel is on hold for now, a wee trip can be a fantastic Christmas gift for loved ones. Make sure you keep an eye out for holiday scams. Scammers often advertise fake accommodations or fake vouchers online in attempt to steal your money & personal information. Always remember to check the accommodation’s reviews as well as the vouchers’ validity before booking anything.

Christmas Lottery scams

Have you won a lottery you don’t recall participating in? Stay alert, there’s a high number of lottery scams targeting British consumers, especially over the Christmas season. These scams often try to steal your personal information or convince you to pay a fee to receive a prize which usually doesn’t exist. Be careful and report any suspicious texts, emails or social media messages you’ve received.

Christmas Marketplaces scams

Shopping on marketplaces, such as Amazon, can be very convenient, especially during the Christmas shopping rush!

Although you’ll find a lot of great products, watch out for scammers!

Beware when:

– A seller isn’t responsive

– A seller has bad or no reviews.

– A seller asks you to move the transaction off the site

– An offer seems too good to be true

Christmas Parcel Delivery scams

Have you received an order you don’t recall purchasing? This could be a Christmas parcel delivery scams, also called brushing. Scammers usually set up an account in their target’s name and then send products to this unassuming person. This scam is mostly used by fraudsters to write fake reviews and boost online rating.

If you feel like you’ve been part of a Christmas brushing scam, change the passwords of your account and contact the shopping site!

Christmas Romance scams

Scammers have been known to take advantage of this special time of the year to target victims on online dating websites. Beware if someone you’ve just met online asks you for money, or for your personal information.

Christmas Social media scams

This Christmas, be aware of scammers using social media surveys to access your personal details. In return, they may offer vouchers or free products which will probably never arrive. Although their offer might look very attractive, stay cautious, this could be a Christmas social media scam.

Remember you can easily block and report someone on social media!

Christmas Weight loss scams

After our Christmas feasts, some may consider a health kick. As a result this is usually the busiest time of year for Weight Loss programs. Scammers may try to take advantage of this opportunity to target victims with Weight Loss Scams. Often advertised on websites or by email, these products usually claim to allow rapid weight loss without the need for dietary restrictions or exercise. Although some offers may look attractive, watch out for these miracle products. It is always safer to speak to your GP when considering a change to your lifestyle.

Christmas WhatsApp scams

Sending Whatsapp well wishes is very common nowadays! Some scammers will use this particular time of the year to target British consumers with Whatsapp phishing scams. This scam involves sending you a message and getting you to click on a link or attachment to steal your personal information. Stay safe and avoid clicking on links in Whatsapp messages sent by unknown senders.

Christmas TV Licensing scams

As the year comes to an end, it may be time to renew your TV licensing. Scammers may know this and use the opportunity to target British consumers with TV Licensing scams. Often sent by email, these scams may ask for urgent payment or personal information.

When you receive an email to renew your TV license, make sure:

– the email address looks genuine

– the email is specifically addressed to your name

 Report any emails to report@phishing.gov.uk if you think it seems suspicious.