I’m a cheat expert and here are three convincing scams you need to avoid this Christmas

SHOPPERS need to be on the lookout for scams this Christmas, as scammers are rampant this time of year.

December is a critical time for unscrupulous scammers to take advantage of people Christmas shopping or waiting for parcel delivery.

Shoppers need to watch out for scams this Christmas


Shoppers need to watch out for scams this Christmas

Figures from Fraudulent action shows that around 17,405 shoppers ran out of cash over Christmas 2019 – and that number is only continuing to grow.

Online shopping fraud increased 30% as the Covid pandemic halted and people were forced to buy more over the internet.

It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities or the excitement of picking up a bargain and finding that perfect gift, but there are some signs to watch out for when shopping online to avoid getting scammed.

Unfortunately, cheaters only seem to get more creative each year.

Sam O’Brien, an expert at marketing platform Affise, said: “As we approach Christmas Day, it is more important than ever for online shoppers to be on the alert for any news. What suspicious text messages, emails or even phone calls they might receive from scammers claiming to be from a well-known brand or company.”

He points out three main scams to watch out for this Christmas.

Refund scam

Refund scams are especially easy to fall for, because it’s fun to think that you might be in an unexpected situation.

Messages can come from phone or broadband provider, your bank or even yours local council or HMRC.

Refund scams often encourage recipients to click on a link and provide their bank details to “claim a refund”.

But you should be wary of any message that asks you for sensitive information.

“This applies to any financial information like banking details through passwords and confidential answers to security questions,” says Sam.

His advice is to never click on any links inside a message, especially if it’s a link you didn’t expect.

“These links can open and download Malware to your phone or computer, which can not only steal personal information, but also slow down the device.”

Other things to look out for include typos or strange words in the letter.

Check the sender’s details – it could be from a legitimate company, but the email could be fake, or the logo on the website you received might be a little out of the ordinary.

If you receive a suspicious message, report it.

Phishing texts can be forwarded and reported to 7726, a free service that helps fight scams.

Bank scam

Bank scam can have dire consequences, with scammers withdrawing their lifetime savings.

This cheat often rely on creating a sense of urgency.

Fraudsters may call to flag suspicious activity on your account and encourage you to transfer your funds to a so-called secure account.

Additionally, you may receive a text or email indicating that there has been a fraudulent transaction in your account or a payment was made to someone you do not recognize.

These may require you to click a link to a report, which may cause you to provide personal details.

“A scam often prompts the recipient to act immediately and has a tone that implies urgent action is needed,” says Sam.

“This is to tap into the emotions of the person receiving the message and encourage them to take action and respond to the scam.”

If you get an unexpected call from your bank, the best thing to do is hang up.

You should then call the number on the back of your debit or credit card from a DIFFERENT phone line.

Your bank will never call you unsolicited to ask for your personal details, pressure you to provide information, or ask you to transfer funds to a secure account.

Parcel delivery scam

Parcel scam has become very popular during the lockdown as more people than ever receive items to their homes.

These defects involve texts or emails pretending to be from a delivery company, such as Royal letter, DPD or Fedex.

“They usually take one of two forms; the first is the ‘ form,” explains Sam.missed parcels‘there is a link to update your new shipping options.

“The other is an ‘unpaid shipping’ notice that says the postage isn’t enough and asks the recipient to pay the difference.”

Scams often succeed because they catch us off guard, when we’re not prepared.

They also exploit our behaviors and as we have more deliveries, based on the fact that we are used to receiving updates and may not always remember what we have order or when the goods will arrive.

If you receive the message, do not click on the link and do not pass on personal or payment information.

You can report fraud and cybercrime to Fraudulent action one in two Online by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Bobby Allyn

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