6 easy tips to avoid Christmas shopping scams this year

Christmas shopping scams

This might be the season for giving, but don’t give scammers an early present by getting caught out by a Christmas shopping scam.  Whether you are a business owner or a desperate Christmas shopper, check out our top tips to avoid festive online scams.

Christmas is a time when it’s so easy to get distracted – presents to buy, family and friends to feed and, often, it involves more travelling than the big fella with the beard. However, when there is so much going on, it’s easy to let your guard down. Scammers know that all too well, meaning the festive season is a prime opportunity to take advantage of genuine brands and unsuspecting customers.

Christmas shopping scams

We explore some of the common Christmas shopping scams and, importantly, provide you with valuable tips on how to avoid them. Our aim is to make you feel more confident finding those genuine brands, keeping customers safe, and perhaps discover a Christmas bargain!

1. How to spot Christmas shopping scam websites

Have you ever been on a website that just feels a bit off?  Something about it just does not feel right.  One of the most prevalent scams during the festive season are fake websites. Scammers create sites that mimic well-known retailers, offering you enticing deals and discounts to make you want to click. These scam websites can be very convincing.

2. How to avoid scam websites

  • Stick to online shopping sites you know and access them only through their official websites.
  • Check the website URL (web address) for any mistakes and look for a padlock (to indicate the site is secure).
  • If you are buying from an online store you are not familiar with or have not previously used, check their contact information and returns policy, as legitimate shops do not hid them.
  • Search for reviews on trusted review sites, but watch out for exclusively positive reviews from profiles that sound fake.

3. How to spot too good to be true deals

We are all trying to find the best bargains this Christmas, especially with the cost of living. However, great offers can mean greater risks. While many Christmas shopping deals are genuine, some are just too good to be true. Scammers often reel shoppers in through advertising products at unrealistically low prices. Another trick is to offer a discount for a very limited period so you do not have time to validate the seller.

4. How to avoid too good to be true deals

  • Be sceptical of deals that seem too good to be true, and for a very short period of time.
  • Shop with well-known, reputable retailers to avoid unwittingly purchasing counterfeit products.
  • If you see a potential bargain with a retailer you have not shopped with previously, do some due diligence. Do you know anyone who could recommend them?
  • Like with fake websites, check trusted review sites and check social media for any complaints.
  • Use price-comparison websites to ensure the deal is consistent with the market price.

5. How to spot email scams

This time of year your inbox is full of emails from high street or online retailers featuring great Christmas offers and deals. However, you should be vigilant of likely scam emails amongst them.

6. How to avoid email scams

  • Always double check the email sender’s address. Hovering your cursor over the name should reveal the true email address, which can often contain the entire alphabet in an email scam. Legitimate retailers use domain names that match their brand.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails and don’t click on suspicious links. Instead, visit the retailer’s official website directly.
  • Do not open suspicious attachments. If the antivirus you use warns you, do not skip this warning.

By following these tips, you should stay one step ahead of the Christmas shopping scams.

Please note the contents of this blog is given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to your specific circumstances. 

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