Social networking sites are now top of the list for scammers with Instagram in second place. Common scams on networking sites often feature goods at heavily discounted prices. The seller will often ask you to pay via bank transfer before the goods are received. In third place, eBay continues to be used by scammers and is closely followed by Gumtree. The data is based on the number of scams reported to NatWest from 1 September 1 to November 22 2021.
Jason Costain, head of fraud prevention at NatWest, said, “Don’t let fake influencers or sellers steal your Christmas by sending them a payment for presents you will never receive. It is the fraudsters’ favourite time of year, so make sure you’re on your guard when buying goods you’ve seen on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram.”
NatWest offers tips and advice to help you shop safe in the run up to Christmas:
- Beware of unexpected emails: Fake emails and texts are doing the rounds – be suspicious of out of the blue emails, texts or phone calls that appear to be from a genuine organisation or company. Fraudsters use these as a way to steal your personal information. If in any doubt, don’t click on any links or download files.
- Always use a safe way to pay: Pay with your debit or credit card – it’s a safer way to pay and gives you more protection. If a seller tells you they can’t accept a card payment and asks you to send them money directly, it could be a scam. Fraudsters often concoct stories to try to persuade you to transfer your money to a bank account instead of paying by another method – be suspicious of anyone asking you to do this.
- Don’t give anyone your full details: Scammers are convincing. If anyone, claiming to be from the bank, police or another organisation you trust gets in touch and asks for information such as login details, passcodes, card reader codes, remote access to your device or tells you to transfer money from your account – don’t do it, it’s likely to be a scam.
Get in touch with your bank if you are unsure a message or call is genuine, the best number to call on is 159. NatWest is also offering customers free Malwarebytes software to help with added online protection. More information on how to be scam aware this festive season is available on the NatWest website.