As you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year, it’s more important than ever to be on alert for scams. Everyone is so busy throughout the festive season, it can be easy to miss a scam, even though all the signs are there. Keep these tips in mind while you shop for Christmas!

Be wary of buying and selling scams

This one is a really common scam and can catch you out if you’re not careful. Buying and selling scams use fake websites to offer deals that are too good to be true. Sometimes, they even offer goods that don’t exist or never arrive. Don’t fall into the trap by always questioning the reliability of a website and the deal it’s offering.

Check the charity before you donate

These scams are incredibly common at Christmas time as scammers prey on and exploit our kindness by creating fake donation websites. Make sure you only donate to reputable charities – if you haven’t heard of the charity and can’t find any information about them online, chances are it’s a scam.

Online shop til’ you drop

Who doesn’t love doing their Christmas shopping online? You can shop at your own pace and avoid the crowds! But, it means you need to be even more cautious of which websites you’re using. Steer clear of sites that prompt you to use an unusual payment method – these are a dead giveaway for scammers trying to catch you out. If you come across a site that appears to be selling items at extremely low prices, this is also likely to be a scam at play – don’t take the bait!

Stick to reputable businesses

Sometimes it can be tricky to discern whether a business is legitimate. If you’ve never heard of the business before and their website doesn’t look very professional, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. To play it safe, only purchase your Christmas gifts from businesses you know and trust.

Avoid ‘get rich quick’ schemes

Most people know the classic ‘get rich quick’ scheme is a scam, but sometimes these schemes can masquerade as investment opportunities that seem real. If you come across an opportunity to gain quick and high returns, the best course of action is to avoid it altogether.

Never click links

You’ve probably heard this one, but we’re going to say it again, don’t ever click a link that is sent to you in a text message or email unless it comes from a reputable source. If you can clearly tell that the message is a scam (for example, it contains spelling and grammatical errors and comes from a strange phone number or email address), delete the message right away and even block the sender if you can. In most cases, when you click on these links, malicious software may download onto your device or you may be prompted to provide your bank details, giving scammers access to your personal information. Remember, you should never disclose your personal or banking details to anyone.

Keep all of this information in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a joyful, and safe, festive season!