Holiday scams: what are the tricks to beware of this year?

With the festive celebrations fast approaching, the holiday season brings joy, festivities, and unfortunately, an increase in scams. The BBC has reported that in the UK, almost £100m is forecast to be stolen from thousands of victims this Christmas, the FCA has pre-warned individuals to be wary of Christmas loan scams and the police are even issuing warnings to their local communities to beware the 12 frauds of Christmas.

Scammers are adept at attempting to exploit people’s benevolence and holiday spirit, but it’s reassuring to know that with a few simple precautions, you can guard against yourself and your loved ones from falling victim.

This holiday season, Conflict International private investigators have put together a simple check list to help you stay one step ahead of the scammers. 

Stay sceptical of ‘too good to be true’ deals

The importance of being aware of scams and counterfeits is vital. Fraudsters can easily take advantage of everyone’s need to find a holiday bargain in the run up to the festive celebrations. When encountering deals that seem too good to be true, ask yourself, is this offer realistic, could it be counterfeit? Simply questioning whether a deal is ‘too good to be true’ could save you or your loved ones thousands of pounds. One of the most popular tactics by scammers includes creating a fake website that looks very much like an established brand, complete with enticing offers they will use to collect your payment information. Guard against this by carefully checking website addresses.

The season of giving… not to scammers

Fraudsters will be aware of people’s goodwill and generosity in the festive period and may leverage this. Exercise due diligence when encountering requests for charitable donations and always visit the purported charity’s website directly. By simply being vigilant and checking the legitimacy of the cause before contributing, the unsuspecting public could avoid money going straight into a fraudster’s pocket. 

Verify item authenticity

Last minute gift giving can often lead to rushed decisions. This is something scammers recognise and take advantage of by selling non-existent items. Always be sure to verify the authenticity of an item or the credibility of the seller. We know for example, mobile phone promotions from fake companies are often rife this time of year. Watch out too for outrageously good offers via social media ads, if they are not backed by brands you know and trust, the products could be counterfeit.

Holiday romances: staying safe amid rising wave of scams

Recent years have seen a surge in romance scams facilitated through dating apps, causing some individuals to be scammed out of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The festive period can prompt a spike in scam attempts, as unscrupulous operators know that romantics among us might be even more motivated to search for ‘the one’ at this time of year. Those looking for love must take care to ensure that ‘the one’ is not the next Tinder swindler.

The advancement of AI technology has played a role in the rise of intricate romance scams, financially exploiting unsuspecting victims. We know that by forming meaningful connections with individuals,  scammers can clone individuals’ voices to trick loved ones into transferring vast amounts of money. Simple due diligence can be a strong preventative measure to protect against these scams in the holiday season and throughout the year: research new online friends carefully, don’t send money to someone you have not met, and be wary if attempts to meet ‘in real life’ are blocked.

Seeking professional assistance

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the holiday spirit, but in order to avoid falling victim to a holiday scam, it’s important to exercise caution. When something seems too good to be true, even in the magical season of giving, it probably is.

If you have been a victim of fraud, our team of private investigators at Conflict International are ready to assist. Please get in contact on +44 (0)20 7917 2939 for an initial call.

Remember, awareness is your best defence against scams. Let’s make this holiday season joyful and scam-free!


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