Brits warned about Christmas scammers as fraudsters are expected to rise by 30%* this Christmas.
So far in 2021, more than half of the population* has been targeted by scammers, from counterfeit online deals, to bank transfer requests, fake delivery drivers and more.
The potential surge in cons over the festive period has prompted security retailers safe.co.uk to explain how to spot a fake, after new data has revealed that 67% of people wouldn’t know how to recognise a fraud, and 71% are worried about being a victim to theft this Christmas.
The five main fakes to be vigilant about and how to respond to them are listed below:
Fake Staff – Reports of fake delivery drivers and police storming houses and stealing parcels have been surfacing throughout lockdown. To be vigilant, ensure the front door has a chain so there isn’t easy access, and invest in a video doorbell to pre-empt a fraudster. Check in with any family members to see if they are expecting a delivery and if not, open a window or speak through the video doorbell for any communications. Do not open the door if you are in any doubt, or their uniform doesn’t look legitimate to what you’re used to.
Fake Online Deals – Shopping events such as Black Friday, Boxing Day and January sales attract millions of shoppers to take advantage of Christmas bargains. However, being aware of fake deals and e-commerce sites is vital, as scammers use illegitimate sites to make money. Use review sites such as Trust Pilot as others will have shared their problems with receiving goods, plus it will highlight the verdict of any unknown stores.
Fake Email Requests – In the first half of 2021 £355 million* was lost to push-payments, the latest data reveals that scams surged by 60% over lockdown too, meaning people need to be cautious as ever this Christmas. If a text or email is unprompted or unrelated to any of your recent activities, avoid it. On an email double check the email address, if it isn’t from your bank or an official party such as Royal Mail, delete it or double check with your bank, or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to report it.
Scammer Calls – Nearly 45 million* people have received a scam call in the last few months, with three out of five 75 year olds and over being victimised. Report any scam calls to Action Fraud immediately and contact your bank if you’re suspicious of a payment. If you’re on the phone to a suspected scammer, ask for full details of the person calling, ask to speak to their managers for confirmation and in general, waste their time as they will soon give up on the situation if they know you’re being savvy.
Fake Products – When buying gifts for friends and family this Christmas, ensure the goods aren’t counterfeit if buying second-hand, or from an unfamiliar store. If the product doesn’t look like what you’re used to, check the dimensions and sizes to see if they match the original. If there is a significant difference in price or if the design specs aren’t the same as the product you’re looking for, shop elsewhere.
Anthony Neary, managing director for safe.co.uk said “Scammers and fraudsters surged dramatically throughout lockdown, and they’re expected to rise again over Christmas. Losing money or gifts to theft and fraud over the holiday season can be extremely traumatic, so we hope people across the UK take our five main points into account, share with their friends and elderly family members, to be as vigilant as possible.
For more information on how to spot a fake, head to https://www.safe.co.uk/safezone/2021/12/how-to-avoid-getting-scammed-this-christmas/