Online fraudsters out to spoil your Christmas shopping

Published 28 November 2016

Every year, more and more of us are searching for and buying our gifts over the internet, rather than battling the crowds in the high street. With Christmas just around the corner, a new campaign has been launched, highlighting how consumers can avoid becoming a victim of online fraudsters.

Christmas is only a few weeks away, and more and more of us will be buying our gifts online to try and bag the best festive bargains out there. Unfortunately it is also a time when fraudsters cash in, using cons old and new to exploit people's good will and ruin their festive period. To help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud, the City of London Police has launched a national awareness campaign to help prevent people from becoming victims of online shopping fraud as well as other types of fraud which people fall victim to during the seasonal period. The ‘Advent Calendar of Christmas Fraud’ will run until Boxing Day offering advice and tips on how to beat the fraudsters this Christmas.

By being aware of these cons and scams, you can avoid your savings ending up in the pockets of fraudsters rather than being spent on gifts for your friends and family. To keep up with what we are doing and to help us spread the word, follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #ChristmasPresence.

Top tips for shopping safely online

Get Safe Online has also published these tips to help you stay safe when shopping online:

  • If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist.
  • Use methods like PayPal when buying on auction sites; never transfer money to someone you don’t know.
  • When making a transaction always look out for a padlock in the web tool bar, the padlock indicates that the site is secure.
  • The ’s’ on the end of 'http' in the payment page address is another essential indicator that a site is secure for making transactions.
  • If you’re buying tickets, always buy from official sources and never pay by direct transfer.
  • If you’re buying a holiday online, research it thoroughly to ensure that is a genuine offer and check to make sure it is registered with ABTA and ATOL.
  • Secure Wi-Fi is vital for your privacy. Check that the network you’re using is secure before you make any financial transaction and never assume a public Wi-Fi hotspot is secure.
  • Always ensure that your keep your internetsecurity software, operating systems and other security measures up to date on your electronic devices.

If you feel you have been a victim of an online fraud, or any other, you should report it to Action Fraud or call them on 0300 123 2040.

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