12 scams of Christmas – and how to spot them

6 min | 04 December 2023

Rebecca Chuks
Rebecca Chuks

It’s the time of year for those jingle bells to start jingling. And while that means the season of good cheer is rolling in, it’s also one of the busiest times of year for fraudsters. With all that cash a-flowin’ – let’s make sure you don’t fall victim to these 12 common festive season scams.

Many of these scams follow a similar pattern – a request to click a link or share some information. Remember, if a call seems strange, just hang up, and if you've shared any personal information, please call us immediately through the app. And never click unknown links or divulge any personal information if you’re even remotely suspicious.

1. The 'Click here to pay for redelivery' scam

With packages flying around, we’re bound to miss a few – and this is where the fraudsters strike. Watch out for fake SMS messages saying they come from a delivery service. The message will often say you need to pay for redelivery, with a link included.

2. The 'We’re calling from your bank' scam

Considering many of us increase our spending around Christmas time, bank impersonation scams can easily seem convincing or legitimate. But don’t be fooled. With this trick, a fraudster will call you, pretending to be your bank. They’ll say your account has been compromised and that you need to transfer funds to a ‘safe account’, which will be a bogus account. Your bank will never call you and ask you to move money. If someone calls asking you to do this, hang up immediately.

3. The 'Donate to charity' scam

Many of us feel the spirit of generosity over the festive season – which is yet another way fraudsters can strike. They’ll create a fake charity, or even use the name of an existing one and seek ‘donations’. This can come in the form of phone calls, emails or online crowdfunding. If you're moved to donate, do your own research and head to official charity websites.

4. The 'This is the police' scam

This is where scammers will pretend to be an officer and call, text or email you. They’ll claim they’re part of an undercover investigation and (for some reason) need your help – which will include asking for money or asking you to move money to an account they control. They may say you’ve been issued a fine, which you need to pay right away.

5. The 'Get in on this great investment' scam

As a stroke of irony, this scam promises bundles of cash while stealing yours. A scammer will offer an investment opportunity, promising high returns and little risk. But these sorts of investments don't exist. They’re simply a way to steal your money. Use the Financial Services Investment Register (Opens in new window) to check if an investment company is legitimate. If it's not on the register, it is more than likely a scam.

6. The 'We’re calling about your Wi-Fi' scam

Most of us have an internet connection, and fraudsters use this fact as a way to access our sensitive information. They’ll call you, often using number spoofing (creating a fake caller ID), and pretend to be from your Wi-Fi provider. Once they have you convinced, they often ask you to download an app or software so they can help 'test connectivity', but they are really taking control of your phone using remote access. They’ll then try to access information like your passwords and bank details. Never download anything onto your phone or computer if someone calls you out of the blue.

7. The 'Buy something on our website' scam

Even though shopping online is second nature to us now, it's still important to be on guard. This scam works by setting up fake websites or creating phony social media accounts. Scammers will receive your order and take your money, but they’ll never send the item, or they’ll send a counterfeit instead. If a deal online seems too good to be true, it might be.

8. The 'I’m in love with you' scam

A romance scam cheats victims out of their cash while undoubtedly leaving them emotionally scarred.

A scammer will do all they can to convince you that they love you – so they can gain your trust and manipulate you into sending them money. They’ll often claim they need it for something desperate, like a medical procedure or so they can come and visit you. Remember, you should never send someone money that you’ve only met online. If you’re suspicious about their identity, reverse image search their profile photos and insist on a video call.

9. The 'HMRC tax rebate' scam

Fraudsters will impersonate officials from HMRC to get to your cash in the form of fake VAT bills or other tax payments. They might also promise a tax rebate if you click a link. If you are ever contacted by HMRC, call them back on a number you trust – not one from an email or invoice.

10. The 'Please pay in advance' scam

This is where scammers will demand an upfront fee for a product or service, like a loan or building work. These things never materialise, despite the payment. Be very wary of any requests for advance fees, and if one is requested, make sure you research the company or entity to confirm it’s legitimate.

11. The 'We’ve changed our account details' scam

This trick includes a fraudster calling you, posing as one of your suppliers, like your gas or energy provider. They’ll say their payment details have changed, giving you the ‘new’ information. They may also ask for an immediate payment as part of the ruse. It's good practice to validate any change or new payment details over the phone. Call the issuer of the invoice on a number you trust – not one from the email or the invoice they just sent you, as it could be faked.

12. The 'I’m calling from IT' scam

Though we all use tech devices on a daily basis, many of us may only have limited knowledge of their full capabilities. Tech support scams use this against us by calling victims and pretending to be IT support. Their goal is to gain remote access to your device so they can retrieve your sensitive information.

Remember, you should never give remote access to your devices to someone calling out of the blue.

If you think you might be the victim of a scam or fraud involving any of your Chase accounts, please contact us right away.

And for more information on how to protect yourself, please visit our fraud and security page.

The new way to bank

Get to know the Chase current account. It's packed full of rewards and clever features that we think you'll love.

Explore the account