The festive period provides an opportunity for scammers to exploit householders while they are distracted with Christmas events.
Popular schemes are being used by fraudsters this Christmas, and HSBC UK have provided a list of what to look out for.
HSBC UK’s head of fraud David Callington said: “Scammers are devious criminals who use a wide range of techniques and scenarios to steal money from you.
“Scammers will be using the distractions of the Christmas period to try and steal your cash. While we all want to have a magical time, follow some simple steps to make sure you don’t fall under their spell.”
Here are the bank’s highlighted 12 Scams of Christmas:
1. Purchase scams
Scammers trap people looking for Christmas bargains by advertising non-existent items.
HSBC UK said the purchase of fictitious campervans or motorhomes is becoming a popular scam.
A warning sign would be being asked to pay by bank transfer. It is also worth checking online reviews to see the experiences of other customers.
2. Delivery scams
An increasingly frequent practice by scammers involves sending fake text messages and emails claiming to be from a delivery company.
HSBC said people should not click on the link or provide any personal details.
People are asked by scammers to click on a link to find out more about a failed delivery attempt, before being prompted to share personal credentials.
3. Hi mum/Hi dad scams
Scammers often pretend to be loved ones and send messages out of the blue asking for money urgently.
People should ensure they are speaking to the person they think it is.
4. Cost-of-living scams
HSBC have issued alerts on how to avoid scams this festive period. Tim Ireland
Criminals may pose as Government bodies or regulators like Ofgem who ask for personal details in order to send out ‘rebates’ or ‘payments’.
The bank urge people to not reply or input any details.
5. ‘Safe account’ scams
Criminals may tell people their bank account has been compromised, and attempt to trick them into sending money to a ‘safe account’ that has been opened for them.
6. Cryptocurrency scams
Fraudsters will also offer fake crypto investments.
People are urged to understand what they are investing in and undertake thorough research in the company being put forward to make sure if is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.
7. Romance scams
Scammers may use the Christmas period to exploit people by befriending them using fake profiles on dating websites, apps and social media.
They will ask for money often for an emergency situation or a gift.
8. Digital wallet scams
HSBC warn people must look out for unexpected messages about their digital wallet, particularly if it has not been used recently.
Fraudsters impersonate banks by sending texts saying there is a problem with their digital wallet, saying it has been suspended or blocked.
People are then asked for their personal details via a link, which fraudsters will then use to access their accounts.
9. New payee scams
Bogus text messages have been sent out claiming a new payment has been made via the HSBC UK mobile banking app.
After following a link to a fake website in the text message, people are then asked to validate their bank details.
10. Covid-19 scams
Despite the easing of restrictions, fraudsters continue to use the pandemic by pretending to be trusted organisations such as the NHS or World Health Organisation via emails and texts.
11. Holiday scams
Scammers advertise holidays that do not exist during periods when holidays are in high demand.
12. Invoice scams
The victim in this case will look to pay an invoice to a legitimate payee, only for it to be intercepted by a criminal who convinces the victim to redirect the payment to an account they control.
This form of fraud tends to involve the criminal either intercepting emails or hacking an email account.