Action Fraud campaign to fight festive fraud

Festive fraud: Christmas shoppers urged to stay safe online as victims were defrauded of over £11 million in 2017/18.

Posted on 28 November 2018

Action Fraud are reminding shoppers to take extra care when shopping for Christmas gifts online. As consumers search online for bargains and gifts for loved ones, fraudsters are seeing this as an opportunity to trick people with the promise of great deals and big cash savings.

The latest report by Action Fraud shows that fraudsters conned 15,024 shoppers out of more than £11 million over the Christmas period last year.

Mobile phones were the most common item that people tried to buy from fraudsters.  Victims reported being hooked in with bargain deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, only for it never to arrive, leaving them without presents to give on Christmas Day.  Apple iPhones accounted for 74% of all mobile phones purchased that turned out to be fraudulent.

Other items in the reports to Action Fraud included electrical goods (such as games consoles), household items, computers, clothing and accessories.

Anyone can fall victim to Christmas shopping fraudsters, so we are urging all shoppers to look out for the warning signs that mean an offer may be too good to be true.

Don’t get caught out by the Christmas rush:

  • If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist.
  • Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.
  • Make sure you’ve installed the latest software and app updates.  Criminals use weaknesses in software to attack your devices and steal information, such as your payment details.
  • Use a strong, separate password and two factor authentication to protect your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.
  • Don’t click on a link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases during the holiday period.  Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Every Report Matters – If you think you’ve been a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre on 0300 123 20 40 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk