Don’t become a victim of scammers and fraudsters this Christmas. We have compiled a list of the top 12 scams of Christmas.

1. Subscription Trap – This scam offers free gifts or trial offers, if you pay postage and packing to receive a gift. The gift will never arrive and you may sign up for a CPA ( Continuous Payment Authority – this will allow them to take any amount of money from your bank account.

2. Fake Charities – Scammers like to take advantage of the feeling of Christmas, these are sent via email marketing and will contain a link to a website – if in doubt check with the Charity contained in the email before clicking any links.

3. Online Shop – Online Shops that claim to deliver before Christmas, the likely hood is they wont. They will take payment and disappear.

4. E-Season Greeting Cards – These season online greeting cards can contain malware that will scan your computer address books and steam credit card / bank details.

5. Fake Gift Cards – Beware of online gift cards, Only buy from official recognised shops or their official websites.

6. Loan Scams – Christmas time is expensive, scammers will often target people via cold calling or text messages offering loans – they will ask for large upfront payments for little or no service.

7. Phishing emails – Scammers will send bulk emails in the hope you click and links contained in these emails, often this will place malware on your computer – these emails often look genuine with logos, addresses and email addresses.

8. Scam ticket websites – People purchase non-existent tickets from scam websites to events such as music festivals, the theatre and airline tickers believing the sites are legitimate. However, after paying for the tickets, they are not delivered and any calls and emails go unanswered. Sometimes scammers will suggest a customer representative will meet the victim at the venue on the day of the event, but nobody turns up.

9. Slimming Scams – Fraud involving health and medical-related products (e.g. consumer advertising for ‘miracle’ cures and weight loss products) and fake online pharmacies. It is unlikely that the products have been properly tested or proven medically effective, some might even be dangerous.

10. Credit Card Fraud – Involves fraud attributable to the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale; the non-delivery of purchased products (e.g. through an Internet auction site); false brokerage; or fraudulent payment through a payment service provider, e.g. PayPal. Fake websites that misrepresent genuine companies and goods.

11. Counterfeit Alcohol/Tobacco – Properly produced and certified alcoholic drinks are made using ethanol, which is a type of alcohol that is safe to drink, however fake alcoholic drinks may contain cheaper forms of alcohol – found in products like anti-freeze and industrial solvents – which can make them unsafe for consumption.

12. Dangerous Christmas Gifts – Unsafe toys and electrical goods, such as phone chargers, which fail to comply with UK safety laws, continue to be sold. Not only are these potentially dangerous, they can also damage the economy and fund crime. Some of these items may be counterfeit. For peace of mind, always buy from a reputable retailer and get a receipt for items bought.

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