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Don't get conned out of Christmas

Published on 23 November 2015 12:01 AM

Online shopping certainly helps make Christmas easier but it's important to be aware of scams during the festive period.


Last year, victims of online shopping fraud lost £16,426,989, a 42% increase compared with the year before.

The most common items bought and sold by victims and fraudsters were mobile phones. People reported getting good deals on popular models of smart phones, but what they thought was going to be a bargain never actually arrived, leaving them without presents to give on Christmas day.

Others reported being defrauded whilst trying to buy footwear, clothing, watches, gaming consoles, computers, furniture and home electricals.

This year, make sure you don't get conned out of Christmas. Thinking twice before you click and taking some simple precautions can help keep you safe online.

How to keep safe online this Christmas

A new campaign by City of London Police, Action Fraud and Get Safe Online shares 10 top tips for a safe and happy festive season:

  1. If something seems too much of a bargain, it's probably poor quality or doesn't even exist. Always check payment pages are secure, and log out when you've finished shopping online.
  2. When making a purchase from an auction website, use insured payment methods like PayPal and never do a bank transfer to people you don't know. Do all you can to check the seller or buyer is authentic. Look out for fake goods: they're illegal and cost livelihoods.
  3. Buying gig or event tickets as a gift? To avoid fraud, buy only from official sources and never pay by direct transfer.
  4. Whether you're planning a break at Christmas or next year, make sure the holiday or flight is genuine by researching it thoroughly, and check travel agents for ABTA/ATOL number.
  5. Scam emails calls, texts and posts are getting cleverer and you're bound to get some over Christmas. Think twice before you get talked into anything, however busy you are.
  6. Passwords that are easy to guess, that you use for more than one account or that you share with others, are a no-no!
  7. Secured Wi-Fi is vital for your privacy. At home, check your router security settings. Out and about, never use free Wi-Fi hotspots when what you're doing is private.
  8. Don't sign up for ‘free' or ‘low-cost' trial goods without thoroughly reading the small print. You could be signing up for massive direct debits.
  9. Don't open attachments or click links in festive (or any other) emails you're not expecting, as they could be scams. And be careful with e-cards as they can be fraudulent too!
  10. Always have internet security (antivirus) software and apps switched on and update (including on those new phone and tablet gifts!)

For more information and guidance, go to


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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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