We want to help keep your money safe this festive season so here are some tips on how to spot a scammer at Christmas.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for Santa, brussel sprout retailers, and online scammers. Check out our tips below, and if you ever feel like you might have been caught out by a pension scammer contact us right away so we can help secure your finances.
3 Tips on How to Spot Scammers at Christmas
1) Online Shopping Scams
Christmas often means a lot of ordering gifts online. It’s important to be careful and always use websites you can trust. Some scammers at Christmas (and other times of the year too) will set up entire websites that look like they have luxury items at huge festive discounts. They might even have 5-star reviews from fake “customers”. Often your items will never arrive, or fake substitutes will arrive. Your credit card details can be stolen and reused, and often, a couple of days later the website will be gone!
How to spot an online scammer at Christmas: Try to avoid clicking on too many adverts on social media. Scammers use these to reach a lot of people in a short timeframe and then disappear. Also, when you search for things on Google, watch out for the ‘Ad’ section at the top of the search results. Most Ads on Google can be totally safe, but there could be the odd scam in there too. If in any doubt, look below to find the top “organic” search results that do not have the word ‘Ad‘ next to them.
2) Text and Email Scams
Unfortunately, even once you have safely ordered your presents from a real online retailer, it opens up the door for another kind of scam. Lots of us will be waiting on gifts being delivered this year. Scammers know this, and so they will try to contact you by email or text message with fake delivery updates.
How to spot a text or email scammer at Christmas: Look to see if you have received a text from this number or an email from this address before. Most online retailers will contact you to confirm your order when you place it, and they will often contact you in the exact same way with delivery updates. If you have any doubt, do not click on anything like a “package tracking” link. Instead, you can go directly to the website of the retailer and check your account, or ask their customer service to look into where your package is. With all the Royal Mail strikes this year, there are a lot of delays and this is a big opportunity for scammers. Be very careful to verify who is contacting you and don’t click too quickly in a panic to get your loved one their gift.
3) Phone Scams
Similar to the text and email scams, you may get phone calls with delivery updates. Spotting these is trickier than it used to be. Before Covid, if you heard a dog barking or kids yelling in the background it would be a dead giveaway that something wasn’t right. But nowadays, scammers might try to play the ‘working from home’ card.
How to spot a phone scammer at Christmas: First of all, if your package is delayed, even the biggest companies will spend money to employ people to call you with updates. It’s usually automated texts and emails. Secondly, watch out for anyone calling from numbers you don’t recognise and asking you for payment. They might threaten to withhold a gift, or claim you missed the delivery and need to pay for redelivery. They could also claim the item is out of stock and they have a very slightly more expensive version but need you to pay the difference. This is all a scam to get your credit card details. Explain you will get in touch with the retailer yourself. Usually, a real customer service worker will have no issue with you being cautious and a scammer will start making excuses or even threats to stop you hanging up.
What to do if you get scammed
If you feel like you’ve been scammed, get in touch with your bank or credit card company immediately.
And if it has anything to do with your pension, investments, or other Lomond Wealth client information please get in touch as soon as possible.
For more tips for protecting yourself against fraudsters like this, check our blog on how to keep your pension and investments safe from scammers.
Stay safe, and we are always here for you if you need us.