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Tips & Tricks: Five Christmas Scams and how to combat them

Tips & Tricks: Five Christmas Scams and how to combat them

The holiday season is approaching and whilst it should be a season of good will, there are scammers out there looking to pounce on that as a vulnerability.

With all the different gift-buying and whatnot during December, it can be easy to get caught up in scams.

The 5 Scams to watch out for this Christmas

We’ve put together a list of the five most the most notorious scams that crop up this time of year. We’ve also given our best tips to avoid being stung.

#1 Fake Delivery Notifications

In this scam, fake delivery notifications are sent to your email from scammers purporting to be Royal Mail, ParcelForce, UK Mail, Hermes, FedEx, UPS, etc.

It’s like any phishing scam, you click on it and it takes you to a fake website – one that looks exactly like the real thing, and it prompts you for personal information.

Once this is in, the scammers can do as they please with it.

Scammers see Christmas time as an opportunity because chances are, with all the online shopping you’re doing, you’ll be waiting on a parcel from at least one of these carriers.

We’ve got a dedicate guide to avoiding Phishing scams here.

#2 Fake Mobile Apps

The festive season often prompts the launch of new mobile apps, promising to make Christmas shopping easier.

This includes apps offering deals and coupon vouchers for well-known retailers. Some, however carry malware designed to steal personal data.

Our advice is to always think twice about downloading even official-looking software, especially if it’s not from Google Play or App store.  We also advise not to share personal data with any app or website you don’t trust completely. The App store is not available online, but you can search for Google-approved Android apps below:

Google Play Store

#3 Text scams

During the holiday season, text SPAM is ramped up a notch. Our advice is NEVER reply to unsolicited text messages.

You can end up being charged for premium rate texts, and if you share personal data, it can leave you exposed to identity theft.  More commonly, you’re asked to download something that contains malware and can infect your device.

We’d also advise to keep your mobile phone number private & forward on any suspicious messages to 7726 to report them as SPAM. Keep an eye on your phone bill for unusual charges, too.

#4 Gift scams

This time of year everyone’s battling for your trade.  It’s perfectly normal for some prices to slash as a result.

However, it’s very easy to get sucked in by offers that are too good to be true. Often these are for must-have items like the new iPhone 7.

Our advice is to look for deals directly on retailers websites, rather than via links in any emails or text messages. Otherwise you risk becoming the victim of fraud.

Avoid entering competitions websites like too – your personal data will be sold on and you will often get hooked into opting into competitions that are not free.  These are charged against your mobile phone contract.

#5 Fake charities

There’s often strong appeals from charities for donations this time of year.

Problem is, scammers are out there setting up fake sites to pocket these ‘donations’. It’s easy to be caught out, so beware of unsolicited requests from charities asking for donations online. If you want to donate to charity, use this government tool to find a genuine one.

Other Christmas Articles

Thinking of treating yourself this Christmas, or getting someone a new phone? Check out our in-depth comparison of the Google Pixel and the iPhone 7.

Doing lots of online shopping? Here’s our guide to shopping safely on the web using PCs, mobiles and tablets.