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The ’12 Cons Of Christmas’…BEWARE!

The ’12 Cons Of Christmas’…BEWARE!

Not everyone is getting in the festive spirit and having been the recipient of an awful online scam recently (read about my experience HERE), I feel really angry that these con artists are still out there, scamming innocent people and apparently still getting away with it.

As we all become a lot more relaxed with the process of online shopping (which is great), we also need to be extra vigilant about where we’re entering our details, as sadly scams are getting better and more complex to entice us into entering personal information which will then be used against us.

I’m in the long process of trying to get my money back, but no one needs this to happen to them and particularly in the run-up to Christmas. I’ve had a look at the Trading Standards website and they’ve written a great article called the ’12 Cons Of Christmas.’

I’ve included highlights of the scams to watch out for below…

1. DANGEROUS COUNTERFEIT CHRISTMAS GIFTS

The NTSB Safety at Ports teams say unsafe toys and electrical goods, which fail to comply with UK safety laws, continue to enter the marketplace. These goods are not only dangerous and potential killers, they can damage the economy and fund crime – a present on nobody’s Christmas list.

2. CHARITABLE DONATIONS

Christmas may be the time for giving, but the NTSB and trading standards advise consumers to double-check who exactly they are giving to. Consumers should be wary of vague statements on packaging such as ‘donations for work creation’ or ‘donations to poor children.’

3. ONLINE FREE TRIALS

New year’s resolutions often involve attempts to work off  mince pies and lose weight. Scammers know this and have created pop-ups offering free trials on items like weight loss supplements while disguising contracts in amongst the fine print. After entering their card details to pay for the post and packaging, the scammers use these hidden contracts to regularly take sums of moneys from the victim’s account.

4. LOAN SAMS

Christmas time can put a strain on any budget, and unscrupulous credit businesses are cashing in on people’s financial desperation. The National Scams Hub says many people have received unsolicited text messages or telephone calls from firms offering them an unsecured loan. Those who accepted were charged large, upfront fees for little or no service.

5. DOORSTEP CRIME

Bad weather is used by rogue traders to convince some residents that they need unnecessary and often substandard home improvements at extortionate prices. Consumers are advised not to deal with unsolicited and unexpected doorstep callers. Instead, they should use a trusted trader, recommended by family and friends or a part of an approved codes scheme.

6. COMMODITIES FRAUD

Cold callers pester large numbers of potential victims across the UK to offer alternative market investments. Plots of land, diamonds, rare earth products, wine investments and carbon credits sold at hugely inflated prices allow the criminals to make off with their victim’s savings before any suspicions are raised. By the time the victim realises the fraud, the company has vanished.

7. COMPUTER SCAMS

The NTSB’s National Scams Hub and trading standards are warning of this simple yet dangerous scam. The victim receives a bogus call from a computer company claiming that they had been alerted by the internet provider to a serious virus attack. The scammers tell the victim the only way the problem can be fixed is to buy a special computer programme. If the owner complies, they enter their personal and financial information on to a website only to find their bank account is emptied.

8. COUNCIL TAX RE-BRANDING

In a current investigation from the North-West Scambuster Team, it was discovered that less than 0.1% of claims submitted by companies claiming they can obtain council tax refunds are legitimate. The victim pays high, up-front fees to a company that does no work on their behalf. Householders can make their own application to the Valuation Office Agency themselves – at the cost of nothing.

9. GRANT NOTICES

Consumers are being warned of an email purporting to be from the Commonwealth Secretariat and HM Treasury telling them they qualify for a £1,000 grant to be paid directly into their bank accounts. This email is not an expression of yuletide goodwill, it is a scam that will put consumers at risk of fraudulent activity, and should be ignored.

10. CAR CLOCKING

Dodgy car dealers will do anything to move a motor – even adjusting the mileage on the clock to make it read fewer miles, which they use to bump up the price.

11. SECURITY ALARMS

The National Scams Hub is warning consumers about a possible security alarm scam where consumers receive a cold call from a company offering to install security systems.  The security system may be free or available at a nominal cost but the on-going maintenance cost high and there is a cancellation fee.

12. VISHING

Vishing has caught a lot of people out recently – consumers have already lost £7million to this scam, according to Financial Fraud Action UK. Scammers call victims pretending to be a bank, building society or similar official and attempt to get personal information. Consumers must remember that their bank or building society will never ask for details over the phone – they already have them.

If a scam does occur, the advise is: “The first thing people should do is follow the old adage – if something sounds too good to be true than it usually is. If something is not quite right or they are being pressured into buying goods or services they don’t need, then they should report this to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06. They can ask trading standards to investigate claims and make sure consumers get a fair deal.”

Read the full article HERE>

Emily Seares is an award-winning magazine editor and journalist and the founding editor of FashionBite. She was featured in VOGUE's Digital Powerlist Top 100 and is a quoted style expert for most national newspapers and magazines.

Comments (5)

  • diane beattie

    yes iv been riped of also by that juvesiio face cream company also they said it was a free gift I had to pay £4.99 p+p but they took £87 out ov my bank with out my concent iam fighting tooth and nail now to try and get it bak iv sent the cream bak to them which they said if I did they would give me a full refund but they haven’t done that so they have had the cream back and still saying I can only have a £40 refund iam so fed up ov people like these thinking its ok to rip people of like this some thing should b done to stop this

    reply
  • Jessie

    I had also been duped by R V T L they took £300 out of my bank after I paid £2.99 postage for a free sample.

    reply
  • karen thomas

    I was also duped into paying £87,00 for this product I have not received any reimbursement and when I rang the woman on the telephone was very aggressive In the end I cancelled my credit card so they could not take any more payments SCANDELOUS

    reply
  • Marie

    Same as all the above.
    I can’t believe that I fell for this total scam I am outraged that this is legal, twice my account has took £87 from me it was only when I was going through my bank statements that I realised..
    I did contact there customer support services but got told it was my own fault.
    DO NOT GIVE ANY BANK DETAILS TO THESE COMPANY.
    Please can anyone tell me what I can do about this. I am at attempting to contact them again but without any luck.

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  • Rona

    Always, always, always, read the Terms & Conditions as this is where it is stated, in small print, that an amount of whatever, will be taken from your account. It is always there you just might have to read through to find it. The companies have to include this to cover themselves but they will do their best to make sure you get bored reading it so that by the time you get to the end, you’re not taking it in. Or you may not even get to the end….and that’s where it will be.

    It happened to me with another company with a similar name but fortunately I only had one payment taken. As it happens, the product was really good so that was my comfort at them taking the money. When I looked into it, I learnt all the above. As long as they’ve included the monthly payment information they don’t have to refund your money.

    reply

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