According to consultants PwC, the British public are predicted to spend less this Christmas. As a result, many retailers are pulling out all the stops and the predicted Boxing Day sale savings are huge!
Whilst it is a great time of year to grab a bargain, it is also a busy time for fraudsters so Get Safe Online have put together this list of easy-to-follow safety tips to help protect you from falling victim to seasonal scams.
- Ensure shopping websites are authentic by carefully checking the address is spelled correctly. Type it in rather than clicking on a link in an email, text or post. Fraudsters can set up convincing websites with an appearance and address very similar to the authentic one.
- Make sure payment pages are secure by checking that addresses begin with ‘https’ (‘s’ is for secure) and there’s a closed padlock in the address bar. But remember, this just means that the page is secure, and not necessarily that the site isn’t fraudulent.
- Often, advertisements for items such as gifts, holidays and events on social media and online forums are fraudulent, and items non-existent or not as advertised. Be wary: it’s best not to pay any money without seeing the item at first hand.
- Don’t pay for anything by transferring money directly to people or companies you don’t know, however desperate you are to buy. If it’s a fraud, it’s doubtful the bank will be able to recover or refund your money. If you can, pay by credit card.
- When you’ve finished paying, log out of the page or app. Simply closing it may not log you out automatically.
- Avoid ‘free’ or ‘low-cost’ trials without thoroughly reading the small print and trusted reviews. You could be signing up for large monthly direct debits which are difficult to cancel.
- Check that seasonal breaks, holidays or travel that you book online are genuine by researching them thoroughly. Look for independent reviews, and make sure travel agents / tour operators are genuine by checking for an ABTA/ATOL number. Pay by credit card for extra protection.
- If you’re buying event, fixture or entry tickets, do so only from official sources such as box offices, sports clubs or reputable fan ticket exchange sites. If you don’t, you could be paying for fake or non-existent tickets
- Avoid clicking on links in unexpected emails, texts or posts, or email attachments. At this time of year, fake parcel firm delivery notifications are commonplace attachments or links: they could lead to fraud or identity theft.