Top 3 scams to watch out for this festive season

During the build up to the holidays, scams and fraud are more common than ever. Here we share our members’ experiences of the festive scams.

Make sure you heed their warnings and take our advice on how to avoid these traps.

Please share this with your friends and family to keep them aware and protected.

Amazon

1 - Amazon Scams

What is the scam? 

Victims are contacted about ‘issues with payments and money owed to Amazon’.  Also, a surprise waiting if you download pictures. 

This scam is becoming increasingly prevalent  as more people are ordering from Amazon in the lead up to Christmas.  This then makes it an easy win for the scammer if enough people fall for it. 

 

How it works 

Here are three examples reported by our members: 

1) Member received 2 calls from 0116 901 3976 informing her that she owed Amazon a sum of money. Questions were asked by the scammers (claiming to be Amazon representatives) about payment and personal information that made our member  suspicious so she hung up. 

2) Member received an email informing him that there was a ‘special surprise’ waiting for him. In order to see it he had to click to download the images. Luckily, he realised that this could invite malware onto his laptop. He forwarded the email to us as a warning to others – and then deleted it. 

3) Member received a call from 07832 923802 informing him that his payment of £798 has ‘not gone through’. Our member has never paid such a huge amount to Amazon so hung up. The scammer was aiming to cause some confusion for someone: a)  spending a lot this Christmas and b) willing to continue the conversation. This is where they would go on to confirm some personal and financial information for ‘security purposes’. 

Member’s quote

“I had a phone call this afternoon from 07832923802.

Saying they were from Amazon & there was a problem with my order as payment not going through for £798. 

I’ve never spent this amount with Amazon so terminated the call.” 

  

What IPS suggests you do  

  • Amazon would never call you out of the blue. They would only text and email you if you genuinely had something on order. Remember their business is so efficient that they try really hard to avoid phone calls. 
  • If ever you do receive an email or text that you would like to double check, then contact Amazon independently to confirm the query.
  • Never click on any suspicious links as you may inadvertently download some malware/viruses which will infect your device and open the door for hackers to obtain all the information you have stored on it. 
  • Report scam emails directly to Amazon
  • Also, forward the email to report@phishing.gov.uk. 
  • These are all phishing scams where scammers try and obtain as much additional details about you either to steal funds now or wait until a later date when your defences are down. 
  •  If you believe you have been scammed and lost money, please report to your bank and to Action Fraud immediately or call them free on 0300 123 22040. 
Amazon Logo
Delivery

2 - Delivery Scams

What is the scam and how this scam works?

You may be expecting lots of packages in the days leading up to Christmas, so a text to say your “parcel couldn’t be delivered”, from Royal Mail or DPD would not be completely out of the ordinary. Scammers are sending these alerts to huge numbers of potential victims and obviously getting enough ‘bites’ to keep doing it.  

The scam email or text informs you that an expected parcel is being held as a ‘payment is required prior to delivery’. This payment is usually for a nominal amount so as not to raise suspicion – £2.99 has been mentioned several times.   This way the scammer tries to capture financial or personal details that they can use repeatedly.

Member quote

“I had a text today saying that Hermes had tried to deliver a parcel and I’d have to pay £1.99 for the delivery. 

That made me suspicious as I hadn’t ordered anything, but it is my birthday on Friday…. 

When I checked the number: (07551558188) online it flashed up that it has been checked and reported before as a scam.

I’m sure it is definitely a scam although the text message looked quite convincing. 

Beware!

What IPS suggests you do 

  • If you are expecting a parcel, then track or contact the delivery company independently (using a national phone number or email address) to confirm for yourself.   Or log in to the online shopping account you used more recently to check. 
  • Never click on any links or give away personal or financial details. 
  • If you are not expecting a parcel, then delete the email or text.
  • Report these scams to the delivery companies themselves. (Each company will have a dedicated department for such matters.) 
  • Forward suspicious and scam texts to 7726. This is a free service to any customers of the major mobile operators and you will receive an automated ‘thank you’ by return. Incidentally, on a classic keypad 7726 spells SPAM! 
  • This particular scam is also on the increase due to the festive period with more people ordering online and not going to the high streets due to Omicron. 

BE VIGILANT! 

If you believe you have been scammed and lost money, please report to your bank and to Action Fraud immediately or call them free on 0300 123 22040.

Man with express delivery box
Covid Passport

3 - Covid Passport Scams

What is the scam 

Texts and emails from scammers claiming to be from the NHS. 

How it works 

Members have received texts and emails from scammers purporting to be from the NHS offering Covid passports. They ask you to pay for these passports and in order to acquire them, you will be asked for payment details! 

Member’s quote / details 

 “I received this text message today – I ignored it. 

‘NHS: You are now eligible to apply for your NHS COVID Pass. Failure to apply may result in a fine. You can apply for this here.’” 

What IPS suggests you do  

  • These passports DO NOT EXIST. THEY DO NOT COST MONEY. 
  • Your COVID-19 vaccination card will suffice if it has a QR code on it. Otherwise use your status report on the free NHS app. You might also need to show evidence of recent Lateral Flow Tests. This is changing daily BUT NEVER INVOLVES MONEY. 
  • PCR test results will be documented in a different format and may be used as a separate entity. 
  • The NHS does not contact you out of the blue like this. 
  • NEVER click on any suspicious links as these may introduce viruses into your system. 
    NEVER hand over any personal details or banking/payment information in response to any calls, texts or emails. 
  • Just do what our member did. Ignore and delete the message.  
  • Finally, just a quick reminder to you all – There are no such tests as Omicron-specific tests and you do not pay for any tests or vaccinations. 

If you found this article interesting – have a look at our previous Scam Alerts.

Please share this with family and friends to help protect them and keep them safe from scams and fraud.

To report scams you may have experienced to other community members, please join our IPS Members Community Facebook group or log into your IPS account and comment below.  Alternatively, please email us with your story – hello@ipscommunity.co.uk

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