5 common scams to avoid this Christmas

The festive season is here, and despite the pandemic still in our midst – and slight uncertainty about Christmas plans – one thing is certain…scammers are still out there waiting to strike. To help keep everyone safer and aware, we’ve put together some of the most common scams that are circulating at this time of year.

Social media scams

There has been a spate of fake social media accounts recently, posing as companies such as Toby’s Carvery to Primark. These scams appear in the form of competitions offering free meals or gift card giveaways on social media. Beware of these supposed promotions! A freebie is fantastic, but before you click anything, try a google search first to see if the offer is legitimate, or check the official website of the company first. 

Avoid counterfeit goods

Fake goods can be extremely dangerous; the reason they are cheap is because they have not had rigorous safety testing. Copy-cat versions of popular Christmas gifts like Ugg boots, toys, make-up, or perfumes have been known to be made up of dangerous chemicals and materials – buying a fake is just not worth the risk. Counterfeit toys can contain choking hazards or banned chemicals such as lead. It can be hard to spot counterfeit goods, however cheap prices or goods arriving from a location that doesn’t fit with the brand are a good indicator. For tips to spot a counterfeit check out this blog on our sister site SnapDragon.

Bogus Websites and Ads

Be aware of fake websites or sponsored ads on social media. These dodgy websites can be convincing and often look authentic even to the savviest shopper. Keep an eye out for logo’s that look suspicious, spelling errors or blurry images – these are all indicators of a fake website. Only shop on a website that displays a domain name with ‘https’, displays the closed PADLOCK icon, and check the reviews on the website. If in doubt, then submit the site URL to our team at bogusbuster.org to check it’s genuine.  

Missed delivery texts or outstanding postal fee scams

Please be wary of any texts or emails claiming to be from Royal Mail or other delivery company. Emails and texts have been circulating this year regarding a parcel awaiting delivery and asking for a settlement fee to be paid, the amount usually in the region on £1.99 or £2.99. This is a scam that is still around! The link supplied in the message is an attempt by fraudsters to steal personal banking information. 

Similarly, there are ‘missed delivery’ scams that are still circulating. Like the ‘shipping fee payment’ texts and emails, these messages masquerade as supposed missed deliveries asking for a fee to ‘re-deliver’. Some of the well-known delivery companies that have been targeted include DPD, Hermes and UPS.

Covid Vaccine and Passport Scams

With the booster vaccination currently being offered as well as some holiday travel being allowed, be on your guard for covid scams.  Warnings are circulating about fake digital passport text messages and emails. These dodgy messages ask for a small fee so you can apply for a Corona Virus ‘digital passport’ which proves that you are up to date with your vaccinations. It’s important to note that covid vaccinations, including the booster are free. If you are asked to pay for proof of your covid status or to get a vaccination, this is a scam — the NHS will never email or text asking for money. Do not click on any suspicious text or email links claiming to be from the NHS.

We hope you enjoy your festive celebrations. Please stay safe and if in doubt check our handy information at bogusbuster.org for tips to avoid scammers.