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Seven tips to keep fraudsters away this Christmas

Despite being the season of festive cheer, fraudsters will be planning ways to take advantage of people’s goodwill for their own financial benefit.

PCC Mark Shelford and Avon and Somerset Police are encouraging residents to become familiar with the signs of fraud and cyber crime to protect themselves from falling victim to scams this Christmas. Top tips include:

Keeping your children safe online

Gifting your child new tech this year? Be sure to set parental controls before gifting to little ones. A recent study by Lloyds Bank found that one in five (20%) players of video games have been a victim to a gaming-related scam or know someone that has. The report also states that when it comes to all types of fraud, those aged 18-34 are almost three times more likely to be a victim of a scam than those aged 55+.

There is a really useful gamers code that Lloyds Bank developed earlier this year lloyds-bank-game-fraud-report.pdf (

You can find information about specific parental controls for each tech item or games console by searching for them online.

Protect your identity

Lots of packages to throw away this year? Think about the personal information you could be throwing away.

Your personal information, including bank account details and your address, is extremely valuable to criminals looking to commit identity fraud.

Shred or rip up any documents or packaging with your information on so it can’t be easily read.

Paws for thought when buying a pet online

If you’re looking for a furry friend to join your family, be aware of fraudsters falsely advertising animals for sale. Between 2020/21, it was reported that more than £2.5million was lost to pet fraud, leaving animal lovers left with broken hearts and empty bank accounts.

Find out how to keep yourself safe from pet fraud: Paws for thought when buying a pet online | Action Fraud

Buy safely online this year

Online shopping is one of the most common fraud types, with financial loss exceeding millions of pounds in Avon and Somerset alone. New data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau shows victims of online fraud lose an average of £1,000 per person.

Find out how to make sure you buy safely – Shopping online securely – NCSC.GOV.UK

Think you might have missed a parcel?

Christmas is a time of year where many of us will be frequently waiting on parcels. Watch out for phishing emails and texts stating that you have missed a delivery, which then asks you to follow a link to re-schedule.

If you see a suspicious link, think before you click. Royal Mail have shared some typical online scams to look out for Typical online scams to look out for | Royal Mail Group Ltd

Think about what you are sharing online

Feeling like you want to share your Christmas gifts on social media? Be aware of what you post online as criminals may use that information to target you.

Account privacy settings are important to know who can see your information.

Adjust your Facebook privacy settings | Facebook Help Centre

Instagram Safety and Privacy | About Instagram

Make sure scammers don’t hook you in using Whatsapp

“Mum/Dad, I’m out on my Christmas work do and I’ve broken my phone, and this is my new number. I really need your help paying a bill…” does this look familiar?

This fraud preys on your emotions. The fraudster is hoping you decide with your heart and not your head.

Click here to read more about how fraudsters are using WhatsApp to target people and some tips on how to protect yourself ‘Friend in need’ scams costs Whatsapp users £1.5 million | Action Fraud

Remember, fraud doesn’t only happen at this time of year. These tips will help you all year round. We want to protect you from fraud and the fraudsters that are operating.

Please don’t forget, if you have experienced fraud, report it to Action Fraud Report fraud | Avon and Somerset Police

“Unfortunately, fraudsters take advantage of people’s generous, festive spirit for their own financial gain. Please take the time to read Avon and Somerset Police’s tips to protect you and your loved ones.”

PCC Mark Shelford

Take Five To Stop Fraud advice

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.
  • Protect: If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud online at or by calling 0300 123 2040.