Anti-fraud advice for online shoppers

The latest report by Action Fraud shows that fraudsters conned 15,024 shoppers out of more than £11 million over the Christmas period last year. 

To help residents stay safe when buying gifts online we are sharing the following messages from Action Fraud and Thames Valley Police.

Mobile phones were the most common item that people tried to buy from fraudsters. Victims reported being hooked in with bargain deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, only for the phone to never actually arrive and leaving them without presents to give on Christmas Day. Apple iPhones accounted for 74% of all mobile phones purchased that turned out to be fraudulent. 

Electrical goods (including games consoles), household items, computers, clothing, and accessories also featured in many of the reports. Examples including Fingerling toys, UGG Boots and Apple MacBook’s were among the most popular items victims reported losing money to fraudsters on. 

Don’t get caught out by the Christmas rush! 

  • If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist. 
  • Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud. 
  • Make sure you’ve installed the latest software & app updates. Criminals use weaknesses in software to attack your devices and steal information, such as your payment details. 
  • Use a strong, separate password and 2FA to protect your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping. 
  • Don’t click on a link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases during the holiday period. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you have been a victim of fraud, report it online to Action Fraud  or call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. 

West Oxfordshire District Council
New Yatt Road
OX28 1PB