As the hustle and bustle of Christmas kicks in, make sure you don’t fall prey to festive fraud!
A recent report by Action Fraud found that last year 15,024 people were conned out of £11 million by fraudsters over the Christmas period!As expected, consumer spending skyrockets in December and it can be hard to keep track of all that is going on. Fraudsters know this!
Phishing scams in particular proliferate massively during the festive period.
Check out our Email Best Practice Security Guide to protect yourself all year round.
However, here’s what you need to know for the Christmas season in particular!
Fake Delivery Emails – Hectic doesn’t sum up the Christmas period properly, and it's likely your email inbox knows this all too well. Emails as well as deliveries come thick and fast and it can be hard to keep track of all your purchases. Fraudsters know this and try to exploit your distracted self. A common tactic that is on the rise, is to send emails that purport to be from legitimate couriers. These emails may ask you to sign in to view the progress of an order or inform you that something has gone wrong.
TIP: Don’t react hastily! Navigate independently to the company website, avoiding any links provided. From here sign in to review and track orders.
Charity Phishing – Fraudsters know people are feeling charitable over the Christmas period and look to exploit people’s desire to help. Under the alias of a well-known charity or even a fictional one, fraudsters will send emails containing malware or links to scam sites.
These scam sites are designed to collect your personal and financial details.
TIP: Instead of donating via links provided in the email, donate through the charity’s own website.
Fake Online Shops – Be aware of emails offering amazing offers, especially on electronics. Action Fraud found that mobile phones are the most common item bought from fraudsters, with Apple iPhones accounting for 74% of all fraudulent phone purchases last Christmas. Remember if something sounds to be good to be true, it probably is!
TIP: Check the website for positive reviews and other consumer experiences. Check for a telephone number; the absence of one may suggest it’s a bogus site. You should also navigate to the website independently and verify the offer.
Fake e-Vouchers – Fake e-vouchers are common over the Christmas period. While they come via email with the intent of harvesting your personal and financial credentials, they are also widely circulated on social media platforms. The public and highly visual nature of social media means its easy to be fooled into thinking a voucher is legitimate.
TIP: Again, always navigate to the official website independently and reach out to official customer service. Additionally, be aware of vouchers for a particular brand that is not from their official media, remain sceptical of third parties.
BEST PRACTICE TIP: Use a credit card when purchasing online.
Using a credit card has multiple advantages and can help you cover the cost of your purchase when:
- Your item arrives but doesn’t fit the description.
- Your item arrives damaged or faulty and the retailer or provider won't offer a refund.
- Your item isn’t delivered but you’ve been charged.
- The retailer or provider goes out of business before you receive your item.