In the run up to Christmas, it is especially important to be vigilant about a number of scams that go around at this time of year, as we send and receive more parcels than usual and make charity donations.
One scam that has been reported involves people receiving a text message, an email or a Facebook message that appears to be from Royal Mail. The message states that there was an attempt to deliver a parcel and to click a link in order to reschedule the delivery.
The link will direct you to an authentic looking website, which asks for your full name, address, date of birth and mobile number. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll then be prompted to enter your card details, which the scammers can use to access your bank account.
More information about current Royal Mail scams and how to report them is available on the Royal Mail website.
Charity donations fraud
Action Fraud is also warning people to be vigilant when making charitable donations this Christmas. They suggest taking the following steps to make sure your donations go to the right place.
- Make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information. Look for the registered charity number on their website. You can check the charity name and registration number at https://www.gov.uk/find-charity-information.
- You can also check if a charity is registered with the Fundraising Regulator. All charities registered here have made a commitment to good fundraising practice: https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/directory.
- If you’re approached by a collector on the street or at your door, ask to see the collector’s ID badge. You can also check whether the collector has a licence to fundraise with the local authority, or has the consent of the private site owner.
- Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and phone calls that ask for your personal or financial details – even if it’s in the name of a charity.
- To donate online, type in the address of the charity website yourself rather than clicking on a link. If in any doubt, contact the charity directly about donating.
- Be cautious when donating to an online fundraising page. Fake fundraising pages will often be badly written or have spelling mistakes. When donating to an online fundraising page, only donate to fundraising pages created by someone you know and trust.
After making these checks, if you think that a fundraising appeal or collection is fake, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Please spread the word and make sure your friends and family are aware and remain vigilant. The last thing any of us need, especially in the run up to Christmas, is more stress and the upset this can cause.