Leading up to Christmas please be aware of scam adverts online and social media for popular Christmas presents that are just too good to be true and not advertised by an official retailer. An example of an offer too good to be true has recently been investigated by Which?
Which? found active scam ads promoting the £350 Jo Malone advent calendar for around £30. The official limited edition Jo Malone advent calendar retails for £350 and includes lotions, perfume, toiletries and candles.
Clues to look out for in these scam adverts are the bad spelling and grammar, and that the sellers use a random profile name unrelated to the actual brand, in this instance the Jo Malone brand. Some of the adverts led to malicious websites phishing for personal details.
The scam sites include a countdown timer and notifications about purchases in ‘real time’ and list the number of advent calendars in stock. These are typical tactics used to make victims act under pressure, without taking the time to verify the authenticity of the information.
Here are a few more tips to avoid shopping scams:
Browse the website – look out for bad spelling and grammar, as well as the absence of terms and conditions and contact details.
Check the URL – if it’s not the brand’s official website, it could be a scam page.
Check how long ago the website was created by using a domain checker such as who.is – a newly created website should raise suspicions.
To report a scam ad on Facebook, select the three-dot icon on the right-hand side of the page and press ‘report’. Scam websites, like these dodgy phishing websites, can be reported to the National Cyber Security Centre.
Do not be tempted to give the scammers any further details, even if they claim to be ‘refunding ‘ you. If you think you may have been scammed, call your bank immediately using the number on the back of your bank card and report it to Action Fraud.
If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details on the phone – stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank for advice.
How it works
159 works in the same way as 101 for the police or 111 for the NHS. It’s the number you can trust to get you through to your bank safely and securely, every time. So if you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details – stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank.
Who can use 159? The banks that currently use 159 are:
Scams are on the rise with criminals finding ever more devious ways to scam people. The last year has seen a rise in parking scams.
The first type of scam involves scammers placing their own QR code over the genuine ones on display in carparks.
People scan the code and enter their credit card information thinking they are paying for the space, but instead, it directs them to a fake website where scammers capture their payment details and take larger sums of money as well as capturing personal details which could be later used in fraud. Some people are finding they have signed up for subscription services which do not exist but take money every month.
Fake posters and signs are also being put up and taken down periodically which mimic the genuine companies and ensures people are duped and diverted to fake websites or apps. Due to not actually having paid for the space, people are also receiving parking tickets too.
We urge consumers to exercise caution when providing their credit or debit card details online by ensuring the website being used are genuine.
To avoid these scams, ensure you only download parking apps directly through the App Store or official app provider, typing the official website directly into your browser or calling the phone number associated with the company.
Do not use the QR codes displayed and search for the official company online, do not rely on the website given on a poster.
Ensure you check your bank account regularly and challenge suspicious payments that you cannot account for.
If you find you have been the victim of a scam, speak to your bank to be advised on what steps to take and report the crime to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk or call an advisor on 0300 123 2040.