Christmas is a break for all but it’s also the season for fraudsters to take advantage of the Christmas spirit.

Nottingham City Council’s trading standards team has pulled together the ’12 scams of Christmas’ to ensure the 2019 festive period is a memorable time for all for the right reasons.

  1. Pop-up shops:

Ever wonder where all the temporary pop-up shops come from? These normally appear online, but sometimes take over empty stores during Christmas. Beware that the products sold can be counterfeit or faulty.

2. Bank scam:

Members of the public might receive a call claiming to be the bank, reporting ‘suspicious activity’ on your account. Prevent sharing private details instead, the immediate thing to do is hang up and phone your bank on a number you know to be authentic – use numbers provided on their website, bank statement or on the back of your debit or credit card.

3. Police scam:

Similar to bank scams, criminals phone members of the public claiming to be police officers from the Metropolitan Police reporting ‘suspicious bank activity’.

4. Delivery scam:

With the Christmas season close by, postal services is the most convenient way to deliver gifts. It isn’t a surprise if you come home and there is a ‘Sorry we missed you! Please call the number below to re-arrange delivery’ card waiting for you. Ensure to check if it is genuine as fake delivery cards are being delivered by criminals and asking you to call a premium-rate telephone number.

5. Romance scams:

Only use well-established and trusted dating websites. Do not click on links forwarded to you by an unknown person or someone you don’t trust, and don’t communicate with anyone away from the site as this could put you in a vulnerable position.

6. ‘Smishing’:

Criminals use text messages pretending to be a your bank requesting an immediate response or your account will be locked. While some banks do send text messages to alert you of suspicious activity, you should never text back.

“The key thing to remember is that if something for sale seems too good to be true, it almost always will be.”
Councillor Sam webster

7. Fake charities:

Fake charities prey on victims’ sense of good will at this time of the year, their marketing techniques can be very convincing. Don’t take the risk if you’re not sure.

8. Subscription trap:

This scam offers a free gift or trial offer. Be wary if you pay postage and packaging to receive the ‘gift’ because you may, without realising it, set up a Continuous Payment Authority (CPA) allowing the company to take any amount out of your bank account at any time.

9. E-greeting (online) cards:

When sending or receiving online greeting cards be careful as they can contain malware which can find address books and bank details stored in your computer.

10. HM Revenue & Customs:

Criminals phone innocent members of the public and claim they have either overpaid or underpaid their tax. Never provide them with your bank details and the immediate thing to do is hang up the phone.

11. Seasonal travel scams:

Tis the season to get away from the cold British weather. Beware of too-good-to-be-true festive travel offers. Criminals are waiting for you to click on their ‘offer’ links so they can start looking for files on your computer in hope of obtaining your bank details. Only use trusted online travel agents.

12. Forged gift cards

Be aware of buying these online as they are easy to illegitimately replicate.

“These warnings from our Trading Standards team are worth noting and I hope everyone has a safe, trouble-free and wonderful festive period,” says Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre at Nottingham City Council.

Anyone needing advice about something they’be bought can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.