The festive season is rife with fraudsters looking to take advantage of us opening our wallets and feeling merry. Here's what to watch out for:
1. Online shopping fraud
Love top brands with low prices? Well stay vigilant for counterfeit goods. These range from poorly made clothes to dangerous electronics which fail to comply with safety laws. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Christmas e-cards
If you receive an anonymous e-card, better to play it safe and delete the email as it could be infected with a virus that could shut down your device and you could be held to ransom to restore files. Get an Anti-virus installed that will alert you.
3. Phishing emails
Criminals send emails that look genuine to make you click on the link which will open a fake website site. Think before clicking
4. Look-a-like website
This year more than ever we are buying Christmas gifts online. Criminals have set up fake websites that look identical. Secure websites address start with "HTTPS" and display a padlock.
5. Gift card scams
Received an email from a friend asking you to buy a gift card for them? Criminals clone and pretend to be people you know to get you to do this. They are after the card to spend the money.
6. Brexit scams
Criminals may contact you to make "no lose" investments to help capitalise on Brexit. They may also pose as HMRC to get money.
7. Fake delivery notification
Over Christmas you'll have packages being delivered all the time. Criminals are using this to send you phishing emails disguised as well-known couriers hoping you'll log in and share your details.
8. Coivd-19 scams
Have you received a letter from your Council identifying you as a close contact? This is a new way that criminals are getting your details by asking you to book a test on a fake website.
9. Fake charities
Watch out for criminals using legitimate charities names to appeal for a donation. Ask for their charity ID or donate on their website.
10. Refund scams
Another way criminals will try and get your details this year is by sending emails or texts asking for your details so that you can get your refund. You do not need to give your details for a refund.
11. Fake romances
Looking for festive love? Online criminals are too. Over time the relationship will develop and they will convince you to make payments to their account.
12. Phone scams
Criminals are increasingly calling people to discuss a topic, investment or deal. They will ask you to press a number on your phone which will cost you a lot of money on your phone bill and the criminals will profit from this.
As well as being vigilant on the most common scams over the festive period, it's also important to make sure you are using strong passwords when shopping online. You can find more information on the Cyber Awareness page