50% of UK citizens are expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their Christmas presents this year*
Harmful viruses in e-cards, online shopping fraud and adverts for bogus holidays are three of the twelve scams of Christmas that have been identified in a new campaign launched by authorities. The new initiative sees the National Trading Standards eCrime Team join forces with Action Fraud, GetsafeOnline, Crimestoppers and a host of other agencies for the first time in a bid to protect festive online shoppers.
The campaign – which launched on 28 November and runs until 15 December – coincides with the busiest internet shopping period of the year and includes top tips for consumers shopping for loved ones this Christmas. Three quarters (74%)* of UK consumers have shopped online this year and in December around half of us are expected to shop online for Christmas gifts.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “The festive period is traditionally the most lucrative for scammers, who prey on people’s good will at this time of year to defraud consumers. In the coming weeks we expect more and more people to make transactions online, including shopping for gifts, applying for loans, booking train tickets and bidding in online auctions.
“In most cases presents and other goods will be delivered without a hitch, but for thousands of people across the UK Christmas will be spoiled, or even ruined, by heartless rogue traders and criminals operating online scams. We urge people to be vigilant when shopping online this festive season – if you are in any doubt about a transaction avoid purchasing the product.”
Mike Andrews, National Trading Standards eCrime Coordinator, said: “Scammers like to exploit the pre-Christmas online shopping rush, particularly while consumers’ minds are focused on plans for Christmas and New Year. So it’s really important that National Trading Standards e-crime Team, Action Fraud, and Getsafe Online work together to ensure we’re all aware of the kinds of scams and rip-offs that do the rounds at this time of year.”
The twelve scams identified are:
1. Online shopping
2. Christmas e-cards
3. Auction fraud
4. Holiday Fraud
5. Loan and investment scams
6. Ticketing fraud
7. Donating to charity
8. Mobile malware and malicious apps
9. Money transfers
10. Social media scams
11. Dating fraud
12. Mobile payments
*Data provided by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau