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Your Later Life Q4 2021

How to protect yourself from festive fraud

iStock / Getty Images Plus / Zinkevych

Sarah Sinden

Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign Lead, UK Finance

It is often in the Christmas period, when our minds are elsewhere, that we can let down our guard and become more vulnerable to fraud.

In the busy run up to Christmas, we can often find ourselves struggling to keep on top of things. Whether it’s managing shopping lists, making sure to have your turkey ordered or finding time to write your Christmas cards there’s a lot to think about.

Scammers target festive bargains

The festive period is an easy target for scammers. Fraudsters prey on people searching for a festive bargain with fake ads on social media and online marketplaces to trick them into paying for goods or services they never receive. Common Christmas gifts, such as games consoles, bicycles and clothing are particular targets for these purchase scams.

In previous years, the largest fraud losses have been through what is known as unauthorised card fraud, where the criminal uses a stolen card or card details to make a payment. But now we are seeing criminals focusing their activity on tricking customers into authorising a payment to an account controlled by a fraudster.

These crimes can have a devastating impact on victims. In the first half of this year, £355.3 million was lost to these authorised transactions, a 71% increase compared to the same period last year.

Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or personal information.

Staying one step ahead

With criminals always on the lookout, it is important that we all stay one step ahead by following the advice from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or personal information in case it’s a scam and remember that criminals are experts at impersonating people.

Always remember to stop, challenge and protect!


Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.


Could it be fake? It is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.


Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

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