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Be Scam Aware This Christmas With These Handy Safety Tips

Recent reports warn fraudsters seek to use the economic crisis and Christmas to target Britons, so it’s more important than ever to shop smart this holiday season.

Don't Be Scammed This Christmas!

Christmas is coming, and most of us will be opening our wallets to pick up some pressies for our nearest and dearest, but it's not just retailers looking to cash in from our seasonal buying.

Recent reports warn fraudsters seek to use the economic crisis and Christmas to target Britons, so it’s more important than ever to shop smart this holiday season.

With a passion for sustainability and ethical standards also affecting the way we shop — as well as the need to be frugal due to the rising cost of living — it’s likely millions of shoppers will turn to resale sites to buy or sell pre-loved items. Consequently, sites like eBay, Depop and Vinted might be at risk of becoming potential targets for scammers.

Therefore, the experts at have provided 5 tips on how to detect a scam to ensure you don’t fall for one.

1. Pay attention to the payment method

When shopping online, always making a payment through the website itself is crucial. Online scammers often put pressure on a buyer not to use a site’s secure payment methods but instead pay through a bank transfer before the product is seen or received. Coming across such a seller should always raise a red flag!

2. Demand current photos of the product

Whatever the pre-loved item you’re trying to purchase, demand that the seller send you a recent photo of it. Ask them to set the product next to a piece of paper with your name written on it, for example. If they’re unwilling to do so, chances are they don’t have the product at all, so don’t proceed with the transaction!

3. Look out for extremely low-priced products

Products sold for unbelievably low prices are a definite warning sign. Do your research and look around other websites to check the average price of the product you’d like to buy. Remember: if the price seems way too good to be true, it most likely is!

4. Check the seller’s profile

Ideally, the seller should have reviews on their profile from previous buyers that you could go through. Also, be aware of too many positive reviews which sound the same. Scrutinise the profile for anything that might look suspicious, and if you see something, don’t risk buying from that seller!

5. Decline overpayments if you’re the seller

While it might not happen too often, scammers may also target sellers. They may pay more than the set price and then say they’ve made a mistake before asking for a partial refund. The seller will send the refund, only to discover the original payment had been cancelled. If someone acts suspiciously when you decline an overpayment and ask for the correct amount, it could mean they’re a scammer!

Top Tip:

Try and always use a credit card to make a payment. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you're covered by credit card purchase protection if you use your card to buy goods or services that cost over £100 and up to £30,000, so even if you want to pay using your debit card, pay via your credit card for the extra protection and then pay off your credit card once the bill comes in.

The credit card company has equal responsibility (or ‘liability’) with the seller if there’s a problem with the things you’ve bought or the company you’ve bought them from fails.

This also covers you should the retailer go into administration. The UK is heading into a recession, and the sad fact is that many UK retailers may not make it into 2023 (look at as an example), so using your credit card means you will be protected should the company go bust; otherwise you may well end having to wait until the receiver can issue refunds for unfulfilled or faulty orders, and even then you may only get pennies in the pound of what you paid.


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