Don’t get conned out of Christmas: Stay safe online


Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

This festive season, a national campaign is running to protect millions of people across the country from falling victim to cyber-fraudsters.

The #ChristmasCon campaign, run by Action Fraud and Get Safe Online, aims to provide practical fraud and cyber crime protection tips to prevent people from getting conned whilst Christmas shopping.

Last year, the most common items being bought and sold by victims and fraudsters were mobile phones. People reported trying to get good deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, but what they thought was going to be a bargain never actually arrived , leaving them without presents to give on Christmas Day.

Others reported being defrauded whilst trying to buy footwear, clothing, watches, gaming consoles, computers, furniture and home electricals.

Don’t be tricked by cyber fraudsters with promises of great deals and big cash savings, with these tips:

  • Use a computer that you know is secure with up-to-date antivirus software and a firewall
  • Only shop at secure websites and sites you trust – check the unbroken padlock is showing at the beginning of the retailers internet address and starts with https
  • Keep PINs, passwords and personal information safe – do not provide personal information online
  • Be careful with online auctions – for higher value items make sure you see the items before sending money and avoid making direct payments to a seller
  • When buying tickets online check reviews on the gig or sporting event to see if anyone has fallen victim to a ticketing scam
  • Register your cards with Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode
  • Keep cards and card details safe. Most internet, phone and mail order fraud happens because card details have been stolen and used to shop online
  • Make sure you understand how the website’s feedback function works. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers have made

Are you a victim of shopping and auction fraud?

  • You’ve bought goods from an online seller that are either late in arriving or don’t arrive at all
  • You’ve received goods from an online seller that don’t match the original description
  • You’ve given identity details or personal financial information to an online seller who has used them in criminal ways

What should you do? 

  • Keep all evidence of the offence, including goods and correspondence
  • If there is a business dispute over the nature of the transaction, contact the website involved
  • If the seller has misrepresented the goods you’ve bought, report the fraud to Action Fraud
  • Call trading standards. You can find the number by calling your local council switchboard

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or


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