Householders are warned to be vigilant this winter as scammers use the distractions of holiday festivities to steal your money.
HSBC UK has compiled a list of the 12 most popular schemes – including delivery, purchase and cryptocurrency scams – that fraudsters are using this Christmas that could have an ‘immediate and much longer-term impact on your finances’.
‘Scammers are devious criminals who use a wide range of techniques and scenarios to steal money from you,’ David Callington, HSBC UK’s head of fraud, said.
‘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.’
HSBC UK (file photo) has compiled a list of the 12 most popular schemes fraudsters are using this Christmas that could have an ‘immediate and much longer-term impact on your finances’
Here are the 12 Scams of Christmas highlighted by the bank:
1. Purchase scams
Scammers advertise goods online to trap people looking for Christmas bargains, and will try and trick people into paying for non-existent items.
Higher-value scams involving the purchase of fictitious campervans or motorhomes are also on the rise, HSBC UK said.
Being asked to pay by bank transfer may be a potential warning sign. It may also be worth checking online reviews to see what experiences other customers have had.
2. Delivery scams
Scammers send fake text messages and emails claiming to be from a delivery company.
They say they tried to deliver a parcel and ask for the recipient to click on a link to find out more or rearrange delivery by sharing personal credentials.
HSBC said people should not click on the link or input any personal details.
Scammers send fake text messages and emails claiming to be from a delivery company. They say they tried to deliver a parcel and ask for the recipient to click on a link to find out more or rearrange delivery by sharing personal credentials
3. Hi mum/hi dad scams
Criminals pose as loved ones and send messages out of the blue, often pretending to be children asking for money urgently.
People should make sure they pause to verify who it is they are actually speaking to.
4. Cost-of-living scams
Criminals pretend to be from Government bodies or regulators such as Ofgem, asking for personal details so they can send out ‘rebates’ or ‘payments’.
Do not reply or input any details, the bank said.
5. ‘Safe account’ scams
Making the most of people being busy and distracted at Christmas, criminals may claim a bank account has been compromised and try and trick someone into sending money to a ‘safe account’ that has been opened for them.
6. Cryptocurrency scams
Fraudsters will offer fake cryptocurrency investments. Make sure you understand what you are investing in, always research the company and check it is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority, HSBC said.
It added that if someone does invest, they should not allow anyone else access to their crypto wallet.
7. Romance scams
Christmas can be a lonely time for some people and scammers may befriend people online by setting up fake profiles on dating websites, apps and social media.
They then ask for money for an emergency situation or for a gift, particularly at Christmas and for supposed birthdays.
8. Digital wallet scams
HSBC said people should watch out for unexpected messages about their digital wallet, particularly if they have not used it recently.
Fraudsters are impersonating banks by sending texts saying there is a problem with their digital wallet, or it has been suspended or blocked.
They will ask someone to enter their personal details via a link, which they will use to access their accounts.
HSBC said people should watch out for unexpected messages about their digital wallet, particularly if they have not used it recently
9. New payee scams
Some customers have received bogus text messages claiming a new payment has been made via the HSBC UK mobile banking app.
They were then asked to validate their bank details by following a link to a fake website in the text message.
10. Covid-19 scams
Fraudsters are continuing to use the coronavirus pandemic by posing as trusted organisations like the NHS, banks and even the World Health Organisation through emails and texts.
11. Holiday scams
Christmas and new year often sees a spike in holiday bookings – but scammers advertise holidays that do not exist, so do some research before booking.
12. Invoice scams
With an invoice or mandate scam, the victim attempts to pay an invoice to a legitimate payee, but the criminal intervenes to convince the victim to redirect the payment to an account they control.
People who are rushing to move home over Christmas should bear in mind that criminals may pose as conveyancing solicitors, builders and other tradespeople.
They may also target businesses, posing as a supplier, and claiming that the bank account details have changed.
This type of fraud often involves the criminal either intercepting emails or compromising an email account.