Mistletoe and Crime! Our Top Tips to Avoid Online Shopping Scams this Christmas

by Simon Kelman

Christmas may be the season of goodwill; however, it is also an opportunity for online fraudsters to cash in. Last ­Christmas more than £16million was lost to online fraudsters, with the average victim losing £862.

With people panicking and making last minute online purchases and everyone deal hunting, this means people often drop their guard and fall prey to fraudsters as they tempt with ‘too good to be true’ offers.

In order to navigate the festive fraud frenzy, we've put together our top tips to stay safe from scams this Christmas.

Christmas Shopping

1. Shop online with retailers you know and trust:

It may sound obvious but the safest way to stay safe online is to stick to retailers you know and trust, always check the website address and make sure that it is correct, fraudsters will sometimes create copies of genuine websites in order to make them look legitimate. As a rule of thumb, if you can detect a padlock on the browser frame when paying, a site is safe.

2. Use a trusted payment method:

Using a Credit card can offer protection against fraud, also make sure the site offers a secure payment portal. Always stay away from paying by bank or money transfer as it is virtually impossible to get your money back should the worst happen.

3. Know who you are dealing with:

The internet is largely an anonymous marketplace but if you are dealing with someone you don’t know you can do a HooYu check to make sure they are who they claim to be, giving you the peace of mind you are getting a the present you want and not a sack of coal.

4. Act fast:

If you are targeted by scammers, contact your bank immediately to discuss your options, which will normally be replacing cards or resetting online access. Most banks will offer you protection if you are a victim of fraud but the best action is to contact them as soon as possible.

5. Watch-out for Phishing and Smishing:

This is where fraudsters try to trick you into giving them private information via an email or SMS message, they contain links to fake websites, offering deals that are not real.

There are, however, steps you can take to protect yourself from such scams. In short always avoid clicking on links in unexpected texts or emails – especially those that appear to be from your bank.

If you're dealing with someone online and you want to check they are who they say they are, send them a HooYu check

Simon Kelman