Money Wellness
A woman doing her Christmas shopping online
category iconmanaging your money
calendar icon05 Dec 2023

Avoid getting scammed this Christmas

Now we’ve made a significant dint in December, many of us will be revving up our Christmas shopping a gear or two. And unlike in the dim and distant past, most of us will do the bulk of that shopping online. No need to brave the cold and the wet, we can do it all from the comfort of our sofa.

But, although we may not have to contend with other Christmas-crazed shoppers trying to wrestle the last Barbie Dreamhouse out of our hands, different dangers lurk online.

Rise in online shopping scams

Data from the bank industry’s trade body UK Finance shows there were 77,000 online shopping scams in the first six months of the year – more than 400 a day. And figures from TSB show this type of fraud increased by 35% between January and October 2023, compared with the same period last year.

How do online shopping scams work?

Online shopping scams involve criminals creating fake social media listings and websites advertising goods and services, usually at ridiculously low prices. When you try to buy something, the scammer makes off with your money or data and you’re left empty handed.

How to protect yourself against online scammers?

  • If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be wary of websites with poor spelling and grammar, or an unusual style of writing.
  • No contact information on a website can be a tell-tale sign that something’s not right.
  • Scammers tend to exploit online marketplaces, so think twice before buying from social media platforms.
  • Check out a website’s credentials on a site like who.is.
  • Don’t pay by bank transfer as it’ll be harder to get your money back if you’re scammed.

If you’re scammed

Avatar of Rebecca Routledge

Rebecca Routledge

A qualified journalist for over 15 years with a background in financial services. Rebecca is Money Wellness’s consumer champion, helping you improve your financial wellbeing by providing information on everything from income maximisation to budgeting and saving tips.

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