The 12 Scams of Christmas and how to avoid them – Part 2

The 12 Scams of Christmas and how to avoid them – Part 2

In efforts to raise awareness about online fraud this Christmas, we’ve been looking at the common scams that occur and providing some top tips for care services on how you and the people you care for can avoid them.

You can read Part 1 of the series here, or continue reading below for part 2 and have a #FraudFreeXmas.

  1. Pay with gift card scams

Gift card scams work by pressuring the victim to pay for something with a gift card. Gift card scams can happen by telephone, text email, social media, and fake websites.  They are popular amongst cyber criminals because it’s very difficult to track funds once they are stolen.

How to protect yourself

  • You should never be asked to pay for something specifically with a gift card. If that happens to you, it is probably a scam.
  • If purchasing a gift card, always purchase directly from the retailer.


  1. Christmas charity scams

Christmas is a time for giving, and whilst most charity collections are genuine, criminals do jump on the bandwagon to exploit the generosity of others and profit for themselves.

How to protect yourself

  • Before giving, check the charity’s registration number on the charity commission’s website.
  • If approached by a collector, make sure they are wearing an ID badge.
  • Don’t click on charity donation links that are sent in emails. Instead, google your favourite charity to check you have the right web address.


  1. Fake website scams

Despite the cost of living crisis, online shopping is still the preferred way consumers will purchase goods this Christmas. Cyber criminals know this, and a common tactic used to trick consumers is the fake website scam. It works by replicating the layout of a trusted brand’s website with some very few minor changes that can be difficult to notice. Once you’re fooled, criminals will take you through a fake purchase system and run away with your funds.

How to protect yourself

  • Don’t click on email links. Search for the brand directly online.
  • Avoid shopping on web addresses that include special characters or numbers.
  • Always use a secure connection, which is signified with a padlock symbol in the browser bar.


  1. Fake seasonal job postings

The increase in seasonal temporary jobs around Christmas time increases dramatically and provides the perfect opportunity for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. The fake job advertisements are sent through email, in the post, text message, and even on social media.

How to protect yourself

  • Be cautious is a salary advertised seems higher than similar jobs on the market.
  • Google the company advertising the job to find more information about them.
  • If a job advert has bad English or is written poorly, air on the side of caution and avoid.
  • Think about how you found the job advert. Did you find it online or were you contacted by someone? If the latter, its worth considering that this could be a scam and doing your research on the business.


  1. Cost of living scam

Christmas is a time for giving, but also a time of stress for a lot of people, particularly with the recent cost of living crisis. So when you receive a text message from the ‘government’ telling you that you can claim a large sum of money as relief, you might think this has come at the perfect time. Stop and think twice, scammers are excellent at preying on people’s anxieties at this time of year and if eligible for a cost of living payment then this will be paid to you directly.

How to protect yourself

  • If you receive a text message claiming to be from the government, do not click on any links. They may contain malicious software to either corrupt your device or steal your personal information. Forward the text to 7726 to report it.
  • If you receive an email, the same rules apply. Do not open any attachments or links. If you are unsure, search the organisation directly and see what information is available online.
  • Don’t forget your bank and the government will never ask you to provide them with personal information to receive a cost of living rebate.


  1. Supermarket scams

Most people will be shopping in supermarkets to plan for a Christmas feast this year. Scammers will send phishing emails to victims claiming to be from well-known supermarket retailers. Emails will include offers for discounted vouchers to help with Christmas shopping and will ask victims to provide personal information to receive one. Instead, no voucher will be received and the scammer will either run away with your money or commit identity theft.

How to protect yourself

  • Check the sender address. Usually the scammer will pose as a trusted brand but there will be small changes in the address such as spelling errors or unusual font types.
  • If you’re unsure, check directly via the supermarket’s website to see if they are offering this kind of deal.


Further information


Photo by Joshua Mayo on Unsplash

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