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Watch out for Scamta Claus this year!


Remember the days of writing out a whopping long Christmas list, circling a parking lot for hours on end, and tackling a stampede of feisty shoppers so you could snatch up the goodies? We do too.

While we all knew it had to be done, this madness didn’t do much to put us in the Christmas spirit.

To some extent, this holiday dash is still the case. We all know someone who won’t start shopping until 4:45 pm on Christmas Eve, but online shopping has forever changed the consumer landscape. A major factor in driving that trend is the COVID pandemic.

Statistics show that last Christmas over 40% of all presents were bought online. In 2021, it is projected to decline somewhat, but with the recent news about variants, that remains to be seen this December.

Regardless of the trend, what it does mean, is that this huge sales period becomes a magnet for potential online scammers wanting to target you.

To avoid this, we thought we would lay out the best ways to stay safe when shopping online this year and always.

  • Watch out for new stores advertising on social media sites claiming to sell brand name goods, such as clothing and jewellery
    • Normally, if it is too good to be true, it likely is – why take the chance with your credit card?
  • Check the website’s URL address. Scammers will often replicate the URL to look similar to a well-known site, with only minor spelling differences. Do these look like they are real?
  • Beware of fake discount vouchers that circulate via email, SMS texts, and instant messaging apps
    • If you’re interested in such an offer, the best thing to do is verify them by searching online or directly going to the retailer’s website

Finally, while protecting your broadband service and mobile devices helps avoid scams and internet fraud, the key is to really be alert to any unexpected links or dodgy website pop-up stores. Only ever shop from trusted and reputable online stores.

Follow these tips, and you’re unlikely to find Scamta Claus squeezing his way down your chimney with his sack of schemes, scams and cons this festive season.

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Sunday, 25 February 2024