A FIFTH of online shoppers for Christmas is being scammed by scammers – you can avoid them as follows

Hidden risk: in the rush to buy gifts for friends and family at the last minute, most people go to the Internet for inspiration and convenience

A FIFTH of online shoppers for Christmas is being scammed by scammers – you can avoid them as follows

Laura Shannon, financial post on Sunday

One in five buyers is being scammed online in the run-up to Christmas – an average of £ 190 worth of fraudsters.

Some have lost thousands of pounds in one go, according to research by Shieldpay – a secure payment method for people who interact with each other online.

For many, it has already put a damper on Christmas with online shoppers who receive fake items – or none at all – or are unable to pay a replacement gift in time.

Being scammed also has a negative influence on some relationships.

Hidden risk: in the rush to buy gifts for friends and family at the last minute, most people go to the Internet for inspiration and convenience

Hidden risk: in the rush to buy gifts for friends and family at the last minute, most people go to the Internet for inspiration and convenience

Tom Clementson, director of consumers at Shieldpay, says: "Nobody wants their Christmas to be destroyed by festive scammers. Customers must take all precautions to ensure that they act safely. & # 39;

In the rush to buy gifts for friends and family at the last minute, most people go to the Internet for inspiration and convenience.

But experts say it is this rush to complete buying Christmas presents, which overshadows a cautious approach to weeding online scams.

The advice is to go back long enough before you go shopping on an unfamiliar website to ask a family member or friend for advice.

Tony Neate, from the free consultancy GetSafeOnline, says: & # 39; A friend can discover a mistake with a website. Many people who are being scammed simply do not see it when they shop.

& # 39; It's time to take off the pink glasses. If you see a fantastic deal, ask it. & # 39;

Neate also proposes to look up contact details before making a purchase. Keep in mind that if a company is difficult to reach when a purchase is made, it is also unlikely that it will be useful if something goes wrong.

Be careful: the advice is to go back long enough before you go shopping on an unfamiliar website to ask a family member or friend for advice

Be careful: the advice is to go back long enough before you go shopping on an unfamiliar website to ask a family member or friend for advice

Be careful: the advice is to go back long enough before you go shopping on an unfamiliar website to ask a family member or friend for advice

Check for a fixed number or address. Also consider buying from a reputable brand that will fulfill its obligations. Neate adds: & # 39; The Internet is a great tool for doing some research research. Check whether a company has a good reputation by reading what other customers say. & # 39;

Websites such as Trustpilot give customers feedback on retailers.

When it comes to making a purchase, pay with a credit card because it offers extra protection for items worth more than £ 100. If something goes wrong, such as non-delivery of goods, customers can get a refund their credit card company for the lost money.

Action Fraud – the national reporting center for fraud in the UK – warns shoppers that there is no protection for victims of fraud who pay by bank transfer.

Online security experts also warn that the green padlock & # 39; symbol can not be trusted to indicate that a website is legitimate – only that it is safe. Fraudsters can manage a secure website, but still run an unreliable company.

Tip: Action Fraud - the national hotline for fraud in the UK - warns buyers that there is no protection for victims of fraud who pay by bank transfer

Tip: Action Fraud - the national hotline for fraud in the UK - warns buyers that there is no protection for victims of fraud who pay by bank transfer

Tip: Action Fraud – the national hotline for fraud in the UK – warns buyers that there is no protection for victims of fraud who pay by bank transfer

The green padlock often appears in the room where internet users type a web address.

People who receive electronic gifts at Christmas should also ensure that they are not complacent about security.

Neate says: & # 39; Download security software and set strong passwords. & # 39;

It is important to erase sensitive information from old devices before you discard them or pass them on.

Gaedtonline.com for more advice on internet safety.

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