Twelve scams of Christmas identified in new initiative

50% of UK citizens are expected to use the internet to buy more than half of their Christmas presents this year*

Harmful viruses in e-cards, online shopping fraud and adverts for bogus holidays are three of the twelve scams of Christmas that have been identified in a new campaign launched by local authorities.

Devon and Somerset Trading Standards service is warning residents to be aware of these common scams.

The new initiative sees the National Trading Standards eCrime Team join forces with Action Fraud, GetsafeOnline, Crimestoppers and a host of other agencies for the first time in a bid to protect festive online shoppers.

The campaign runs until 15 December and coincides with the busiest internet shopping period of the year and includes top tips for consumers shopping for loved ones this Christmas. Three quarters (74%)* of UK consumers have shopped online this year and in December around half of us are expected to shop online for Christmas gifts.

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of National Trading Standards, said: “The festive period is traditionally the most lucrative for scammers, who prey on people’s good will at this time of year to defraud consumers. In the coming weeks we expect more and more people to make transactions online, including shopping for gifts, applying for loans, booking train tickets and bidding in online auctions.

Cllr David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Many fraudsters will be looking to take advantage of the season of good will. I would encourage anyone using the internet to make purchases to be especially vigilant at this time of year. If something seems too good to be true it usually is.”

Mike Andrews, National Trading Standards  eCrime Coordinator, said: “Scammers like to exploit the pre-Christmas online shopping rush, particularly while consumers’ minds are focused on plans for Christmas and New Year. So it’s really important that National Trading Standards e-crime Team, Action Fraud, and Getsafe Online work together to ensure we’re all aware of the kinds of scams and rip-offs that do the rounds at this time of year.”

The twelve scams identified are:

  1. Online shopping
  2. Christmas e-cards
  3. Auction fraud
  4. Holiday Fraud
  5. Loan and investment scams
  6. Ticketing fraud
  7. Donating to charity
  8. Mobile, malware and malicious apps
  9. Money transfers
  10. Social media scams
  11. Dating fraud
  12. Mobile payments

National Trading Standards

  • The National Trading Standards Board is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
  • The National Trading Standards Board provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

National Trading Standards eCrime Team

  • Funded by the National Trading Standards Board, the National Trading Standards eCrime Team recognises that a secure and safe online environment that protects consumers and allows businesses to flourish is vital to the long term success of the UK economy.
  • The eCrime Team provides a national resource to support all local authority areas in England and Wales, tackling the increasing threat to businesses and consumers in relation to internet scams and rip-offs. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.

For more information contact Mike Andrews 01609 534901. For more general enquiries regarding National Trading Standards please call 020 7025 7570 or e-mail nationaltradingstandards@grayling.com.

*Data provided by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau