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12 Scams of Christmas

Scammers love to take advantage of holidays like Christmas … more people are shopping online, looking for bargains, and well … just feeling the warm fuzziness that comes with the season (see Scam No.9)!

And just like at any other time of the year, there are things you can be on the lookout for, that could flag a potential scam.

Check out the ‘12 Scams of Christmas’ below for some common ploys and make sure it’s you having ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ (and not the Scammer!).

  1. Free Gift Cards - Ah the promise of free stuff! These are often a ploy to get your identity and personal information!
  2. Year in review traps - Hmm, do you really need to see your 2020 in review or Elf Yourself? Be careful downloading apps and games through social media and think twice before giving them access to your personal information.
  3. Credit Card Fraud - Keep a close eye on transactions and check your statements or online banking in case of fraud.
  4. Fake shipping or Postal Scams - Are you expecting a parcel? Do you normally receive links to click on to check the shipping status?  Always check the sender of an SMS or email before clicking on links.
  5. Public WiFi - Avoid free public wifi in big shopping centres or hot spots. These can easily be fake, set up to take your passwords or other sensitive info.
  6. Auction Fraud - eBay, Gumtree and other sites are a good way to buy some pressies, but you still need to research the seller and try to avoid using “direct credit” payment options.  
  7. Look-a-like websites - Hot items like the new PlayStation 5 will sell out quickly which can lead to pretend websites selling the product. Make sure the website address is correct in the search engine and don't click on links that take you to another site.
  8. E-cards - Gone are the days of posting Christmas cards. Quite often people send an electronic card instead. Keep an eye out for the senders name and email - do you know the person? Be wary of clicking links to receive your e-card, they may be after your personal information.
  9. Phoney Charities - From fake door knocking appeals to impersonating a real charity, always check the credentials before signing up to give donations.
  10. Counterfeit Goods - Are you expecting a Gucci bag for a special introductory price of $100 – Hmm, may be wishful thinking signing up to shopping sites offering such deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
  11. Santa Scams - Yep from fake Santa letters to websites that track where Santa is. Keep an eye on these fun novelty items, they may come with added nasties you didn’t sign up for. 
  12. Travel Scams - With so many people missing loved ones be on the lookout for phoney travel deals that sound too good to be true. Check the URL and make sure it is the correct airline or travel site before signing over your Credit Card details.

Stay up-to-date with the current scams, visit the Scamwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au and have a scam-free holiday season!