Buying presents online – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Auction sites are a popular way to buy Christmas presents and whilst the majority of items on sale are genuine, there may also be some items for sale that are either counterfeit or do not even exist.

Fraudsters use the festive period as an opportunity to ‘sell’ popular items such as smartphones, gadgets and ‘designer’ clothing at low prices on auction sites.

Please be careful before making that bargain purchase – chances are that the goods do not exist or what you receive will be a pale imitation of the legitimate version.

Don’t be tricked by cyber fraudsters with promises of great deals and big cash savings.

This Christmas time stay safe online:

  • 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.

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

For more information about staying safe online visit the online safetysection of our YouTube channel by clicking here.


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