Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Welcome to our blog

Check out the latest on everything from staying safe online to getting the best from your service.

How to spot a Christmas shopping scam

Fake deals, trick surveys & bogus gift cards: How to spot a Christmas shopping scam

Scammers, fraudsters, and phishers take advantage of every season. But the Christmas shopping season – which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday, may be their favourite.

As retailers rush to capitalize on what is generally their most profitable time of year, they will flood email boxes with great offers that are often time sensitive and may even seem too good to be true. Meanwhile, consumers also feel the urgency to get their shopping done, along with the stresses of everyday life. Add in the financial pressure of an inflationary economy and the likelihood of unintentionally making a mistake increases. Read on for some simple yet effective ways to ruin the scammers’ fun as you celebrate the season of giving.


Keep an eye open for scams while Christmas shopping

Along with using antivirus on all your devices, monitoring your credit / bank card accounts, and using an online payment service, learning to spot a scam is one of the keys to keeping your money safe when shopping online.

TalkTalk’s cybersecurity partner F-Secure continually monitors the latest cyber threats around the globe. Their experts have pulled together some spam they've been seeing in the wild over the past few weeks. These real-life examples give us the best possible insight into the sort of scams you can expect to see in your inbox and will hopefully help to avoid messy, and potentially costly, mistakes.


Fake Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sale Offers: Ray-Ban and Louis Vuitton

F-Secure has been tracking spam campaigns for Louis Vuitton and Ray-Ban products that began to rise around the second week of November.

Here's the bogus Ray-Ban sales offer for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Notice everything the scammers do to increase the urgency, so you click without too much thought.



The link in this fake email leads to a fake site that resembles what you might expect to see on a legitimate retailer's site.

RayBan fake site picture1RayBan fake site picture1




Christmas sales can be good, but they are almost never this good. In this example, $38 for a pair of $280 glasses is a discount of more than 83%. That's an unbelievably low price. But in the Christmas rush, the part of your brain that might alert you to the improbability of this offer may be drowned out by all the other voices trying to get all the gifts you can afford.

Below is another example of an email scam promoting Louis Vuitton Bags for “Black Friday Sale”.



Similarly, the user is led to a bogus shopping website. Again, 87% off sounds too good to be true for luxury bags like these.



Let's say that you do attempt to purchase one of these bags. The fake site will ask you to enter the shipping address.





Next step, it will ask for a payment method. It says, choose payment mode “For friends and family” due to low profits.



Clicking PAY NOW leads the user to send payment via PayPal to an individual for a person named ‘James’.



How to spot a Christmas scam

  1. Check for suspicious email sender information.
    If the sender's name and sender's email address do not match, that is a big red flag. Always check to see if the sender's email address includes suspicious domain names or top-level domains such as ".top" or ".ru".
  2. Avoid too good to be true discounts and sale prices.
  3. Be wary of any errors or oddities on a billing form.
    Legitimate retailers ensure that the forms that complete a sale are correct, clean, and functional, as their success depends on making sure customers finish a transaction.
    Proper forms will verify that the correct characters for each field -- such as addresses, post code, and phone numbers -- are entered properly.
  4. Steer clear of any transaction that results in an unusual payment method, especially to an individual.


Trick surveys and bogus gift cards

During the Christmas season, people have even more opportunity to be tricked into clicking on a suspicious link in an unsolicited email. So, to increase the chances of success the scammers will entice you with a free gift card from some of the biggest brands in the world as a reward for filling out some sort of phony survey.

Below are a couple of examples of these scams that F-Secure has identified in November of 2022. Remember that the cost of these allegedly "free" gift cards could easily be the theft of your private financial data.



Hopefully, this look at the sorts of lures that criminals are using will make your eye for scams even sharper and your Christmas brighter.

To give you and your family peace of mind to shop and browse safely this Christmas, why not add TalkTalk’s SuperSafe online security to your mobiles, tablets, and laptops. All you need to do is to log in to your My Account, select ‘SuperSafe’ and add protection for up to 10 devices to your account for just £4 a month – and before you can say "Ho! Ho! Ho!" you'll be protected and safe to shop online to your heart's content.

Beat the Scammers

about simonb

I Like to travel around the Mediterranean, I have 2 grandchildren who are so entertaining. I also like cooking and socialising.

Read more of my blog posts

More like this