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

Purchase scams

Purchase scams are now the most common online scam type affecting the UK. In 2020, UK citizens reported a staggering £57.1 million of losses to purchase scams. You need to be particularly careful of purchase scams around Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period. This year scammers will be very likely to exploit people's worries about the cost of living.


What exactly is a purchase scam?

A purchase scam happens when the victim pays upfront for an item that is either not as described or is never received. Most often the item doesn't exist, and the scammer is exploiting the victim's desire to find the best possible price or to get hold of something in short supply.

For example, there were plenty of scams reported when the new iPhone 14 was released in September. Another good example is when new games consoles are released, which is often just before Christmas.


How can you stay safe from purchase scams?

Here are some simple tips to stay safe this Black Friday and Christmas. Some excellent detailed advice can be found at the National Cyber Security Centre's website.

  1. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You should trust your instincts on this one. Don't spend money if something doesn't feel right.
  2. Buy from retailers you know and trust. Try to use well-established online retailers. Be more wary when shopping at sites found through search results. You can use the free website checker at Get Safe Online to check if a website is legitimate. Also be wary of online marketplaces, such as Facebook Marketplace. Scammers often operate on these platforms.
  3. Use a credit card or a secure payment site. Avoid using a debit card or making a bank transfer. Credit cards offer Section 75 protection against purchase scams. Using a secure payment site, such as PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay, will ensure that the scammer will never see your payment card details even if you do fall victim.
  4. Be wary of suspicious emails or text messages. You might receive information about a great deal through an email, text or WhatsApp message. Even if that offer appears to be from a legitimate retailer you need to be wary. Only click through if you are 100% sure that the source is genuine, for example if it is from a mailing list that you know you have signed up to already. You can read more about how to spot scam emails and texts National Cyber Security Centre's website.
  5. If you fall victim, contact your bank straight away. And when you do so, make sure you are using the correct phone number. You can use the 159 short code from your TalkTalk landline to get straight through to your bank's fraud team if your bank supports the service.
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.

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