The 12 Scams of Christmas – be warned, and please share to family and friends

These are going the rounds, so do be warned, and please share with family and friends. Scammers are making off with millions of ££££ – don’t let them get any of it from us

1. Fake websites. Using the web to buy Christmas presents? Criminals set up fake websites that look identical to steal your personal details and money. Make you sure are going to a genuine business website and secure website addresses start with “https” and display a locked padlock.

2. IT support scams. IT support scams could be via a phone call or email stating there is something wrong with your computer and needs fixing. They will try to direct you to a bogus website. Companies like Microsoft, Sky or BT will NEVER call you directly about this.

3. Fake charities. Watch out for criminals using a legitimate charity’s name and appealing on their behalf, for a donation. If suspicious, ask to see their official charity ID which they’re required to carry. TRUST your instincts!

4. Refund scams.. You may receive an email or text pretending to be from the Council or a well-known store promising a credit, tax refund or more recently grant money and a link to click to claim the money back. They’ll ask for bank details. DON’T give them out!

5. Phishing emails. Criminals send emails that look genuine to make you click on a link to a fake site, or open an attachment that infects your machine with a virus. They will make you panic and rush your decision. THINK before clicking.

6. Gift card scams. Received an email from a friend asking to buy gift cards for them? Criminals clone and pretend to be people you know to get you to do this. They are after the code on the card to spend the money. DON’T do it!

7. Brexit scams. Criminals contact victims to suggest making “No lose” investment to help capitalise on Brexit. They also pose as HM Revenue & Customs to get payments off businesses to register for trading. DON’T!

8. Covid19 scams. Received a telephone call from a Council identifying you as a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19? We will provide advice and ask some personal questions like your address. We WILL NOT ask for financial details.

9. Phone scams. Criminals ring you to discuss a topic then ask you to press a number on your phone keypad to “opt out” of a survey for example. It will generate extreme charges which the criminals will profit from. Just put the phone down.

10. Ecard scams. Watch for those e-cards you receive online. It could be infected with a virus that could shut down your device and you could be held to ransom to restore files. Get an Anti-virus installed that will alert you!

11. Fake romance. Looking for festive love online? Criminals are. The relationship develops over time and the individual is convinced to make payments to the criminal – DON’T pay them anything. They’re also after your identity. Guard your privacy.

12. Shopping scams. Love top brands with low prices? Stay vigilant for counterfeit goods. These range from poorly made clothes to dangerous electronics which fail to comply with safety laws. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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