The Public Protection Partnership’s Trading Standards service wants you to know about these 12 scams to watch out for this Christmas:
Scam One: Subscription trap
This scam offers a free gift or trial offer. If you pay postage and packing to receive the ‘gift’ beware as you may, without realising it, set up a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) allowing the company to take any amount out of your bank account at any time.
Scam Two: Bogus Charities
Fake charities prey on our feeling of good will at this time of the year and their marketing can be very convincing. Make sure that the marketing you have received is genuine by checking for spelling mistakes in the letter/email you receive and googling the charity name and number.
Scam Three: Pop-up Shops
Generally pop-up shops arrive on the web, and sometimes even in the high street taking over closed stores, at this time of year. High street pop-up shops often have counterfeit and faulty items for sale.
Scam Four: E-Season Greeting Card
Be very careful when sending these as they can contain malware that reads your address book and can even find your credit card details and bank details if these are stored on your computer.
Scam Five: Bogus gift cards
Gift cards are ideal for that hard-to-buy for person but be very aware of buying these online as gift cards are easy to fake and could cause embarrassment to your friends and family when they try and use them if they are fakes.
Scam Six: Seasonal travel scams
Beware of these too good to be true seasonal offers. Scammers are waiting for you to click the offer link and start infecting your computer to obtain your credit card details. Use trusted online travel agents.
Scam Seven: Shipping/parcel delivery scams
Presents have been ordered and you come home and there is a “we tried to deliver your parcel please call the number below to arrange collection/delivery.” Be very careful to check it is genuine as fake delivery cards are being delivered by scammers and the phone number you are asked to call is a very high premium rate telephone number. You could run up a phone bill of hundreds of pounds waiting for someone to answer.
Scam Eight: Smishing/Phishing
Scammers often use a false identity, for example pretending to be your bank, to try to fish for sensitive information from you like username or passwords (this is called phishing). They might also do this via email or text messages (this is called smishing) for example pretending to be your bank requesting an immediate response before ‘your account gets locked down’. Some banks do genuinely send text messages to alert you of suspicious activity but you should never respond by text.
Scam Nine: Romance scams
Only use well established and trusted dating websites. Do not click on links from someone you do not know or trust. Do not communicate with anyone you find on these sites away from the site as you could be putting yourself into a vulnerable position.
Scam Ten: HMRC
Scammers phone unsuspecting members of the public claiming they have overpaid or underpaid their tax. Beware – never give out your bank details and hang up immediately.
Scam Eleven: Bank Scam
Scammers phone unsuspecting members of the public claiming to be calling from your bank to report ‘suspicious activity’ on your account. If you receive a call like this hang up immediately and phone your bank.
Scam Twelve: Metropolitan Police Scam
Scammers phone members of the public claiming to be from the Metropolitan Police to tell you of ‘suspicious activity on your bank account’. Hang up immediately, wait 15 minutes, or use another phone, and call 101 and then follow the instructions.
How to Get Help
If you have fallen for a scam, don’t worry you are not alone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We are very lucky to have Malcolm Philipps, a dedicated Fraud Victim Support Officer to support you.
Fraud Victim Support Officer
Public Protection Partnership
Market Street Newbury RG14 5LD
Mob 07500 102989