The 12 cons of Christmas

Published on 28 November 2018

Don't be scammed this Christmas! Check out this list of scams that can happen at this time of year, and how to look out for them.

On the first day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…a phishing email trying to fool me.

With the majority of people now purchasing their Christmas shopping online the number of confirmation and shipping emails received is guaranteed to increase.

This provides the perfect opportunity for fraudsters to target you with phishing emails. On first glance the emails appear to be from genuine companies however when you take a second look you are more than likely to notice spelling and grammar mistakes.

The emails will also give a sense of urgency and provide you with a deadline to respond.

No genuine company will ever ask for you card details or Verified by Visa password by email.

On the second day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…a convincing smishing text.

With the average person spending more than a day a week on their mobile, it is becoming easier for fraudsters to send you unexpected messages without causing concern.

Messages may appear to be from legitimate sources and with your fast paced lifestyle it is easy to miss clear signs of fraud. Never respond to a text asking you to follow a link and provide your debit card details.

On the third day of Christmas the fraudster gave to me…

…fake Cumberland calls.

Fraudsters will often pretend to be working for the fraud team at The Cumberland to “check” a transaction with you.

As the festive period sees an increase in shopping and unusual transactions on your account, checking transactions may become more frequent however we will never ask you to disclose your full card number to us.

If you receive a call that you are unsure of we will always be happy for you to call us back from a separate phone on our customer service number found on the back of your debit card.

On the fourth day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…new malicious apps.

The festive period always brings an abundance of new technology and with that comes the desire to download new apps.

Not all apps are what they appear to be with some running malware to infect your device in order to obtain your bank details.

Always ensure you have the latest version of an app and install an anti-virus onto your device to run regular background checks.

On the fifth day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…social media scams.

Social media is a fraudster’s dream location to phish for personal details and without knowing it you can give them all the information they could possibly need with just 2 clicks.

Sharing the post is allowing the fraudster to gather information on you and is also providing them with a reason to contact you.

You may receive a message congratulating you as you are the “lucky winner” but to claim your prize you just need to give them a little bit of extra information or pay an administration fee.

You may think that providing them with your email address is harmless but you will be inundated with spam emails. If they can spam you they can scam you!

On the sixth day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…suspicious dating messages.

Christmas can often be a lonely time and the desire to meet someone new may lead you to online dating.

This can be the perfect way to meet your soulmate but it can also be a prime location for fraudsters trying to win your affection.

Be careful of any personal information you tell someone you haven’t met and always be cautious of anyone asking you to send them money online so they can visit you.

The fraudster wants to gain your trust however do not believe their promises of repayment.

On the seventh day of Christmas the fraudster gave to me…

…counterfeit Christmas presents.

Everyone wants to buy their loved ones the best presents at the cheapest price however nobody wants to buy them counterfeit goods.

When shopping online it is easy to be fooled by convincing looking deals however it is unlikely you are going to receive the items you are expecting.

Always ensure you are on a genuine provider’s website and remember if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.

On the eighth day of Christmas the fraudster gave to me…

…overpriced event tickets.

Christmas always sees an increase in ticket sales with everyone wanting to make exciting plans for the year ahead, however with the increased demand comes the possibility of having to use a resale site to purchase tickets.

Always be wary of resale sites, are you really willing to pay £100 for a ticket that should cost £15? Even if you are happy to pay more than face value for the ticket, they may not be valid.

Ed Sheeran refused entry to anyone who purchased a ticket through resale sites and this trend is likely to spread to more events.

If you want to purchase tickets for any event always check the official ticket provider before panicking buying on a resale site.

On the ninth day of Christmas the fraudster sent to me…

…scam compensation.

Having been the victim of a scam previously some people may think they won’t be caught out again however with the offer of recovering funds lost previously it is easy to see how people fall victim to scams again.

No company will be aware of any funds you have lost previously so if you receive any unexpected calls always treat them with caution.

Unless you have contacted a company directly regarding the recovery of lost funds, no genuine company will contact you.

On the tenth day of Christmas the fraudster asked me…

…to send money to a fake charity.

Christmas is traditionally a time where charities seek to gain more donations. Most collections are genuine however there are often occasions where fraudsters seek to exploit your charitable side.

Fake websites can also be created to appear similar to the legitimate website in order to obtain “donations”. You should always seek ID from anyone collecting donations whilst you are Christmas shopping and always ensure you are on a genuine website before making any donations.

On the eleventh day of Christmas the fraudster asked me…

…money transfers.

Personalised presents are becoming more popular and with that comes the need to purchase before they sell out or stop selling before Christmas.

You may want to support small businesses however not all small businesses are genuine. You should always ensure you make payments for your presents via your Visa debit card.

Some sellers may ask you to send a bank transfer however this money is non-recoverable and if you do not receive the goods you have paid for there is no way to dispute this with the seller.

On the twelfth day of Christmas the fraudster asked me…

…fake loans.

The festive period can be an expensive time for everyone and the need to seek additional funds can lead you to apply for a loan.

People often reply to adverts for fast loans and before they receive the loan they are contacted by fraudsters and asked to send fees to cover the insurance for the loan.

This can be for a number of reasons including the credit search not being completed or there being no guarantor.

Once the fee has been paid the victim won’t receive the loan and won’t be able to contact the “provider”. Always check the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register to ensure you are using a governed provider.