Online shopping scams

Keep your money safe when online shopping, particularly during the festive shopping period. You can take a few simple steps to reduce the chances of falling victim to scams and fraudsters. Sales of counterfeit clothes and electrical items online have increased in recent years.

Scam websites are often difficult to tell from genuine ones but there are some tell-tale signs people can look out for;

Secure websites

  • At the top of the screen where the Web site address is displayed, you should see https://. The “s” indicates the Web site is secure. In many cases, you do not see the “s” until you actually move to the application page on a Web site.
  • Another way to determine if a Web site is secure is to look for a closed padlock , usually displayed at the bottom right hand corner of your screen. Double-click the padlock to see the security certificate for the website. If the lock is open, you should assume it is not a secure site.
  • Be aware that websites sometimes use a domain name that falsely suggests they are UK-based.

You should be wary if the site:

  • Offers are too good to be true, for example the price of an item is markedly lower than the market rate
  • Has no information about the identity of the person operating the business such as the proprietor’s name or the company’s full name
  • Has no geographic address for the business, preventing people from locating the business in the event of a dispute
  • Makes no mention of any cancellation rights
  • Has unfair or restrictive terms and conditions which limits people’s legal rights
  •  Only accepts payments via money transfer services such as MoneyGram and/or Western Union

Information received from PS 71468 Julie Mackay LPSU

Email scams

email-scamYour bank will never ask you for your details over the internet or by email. If you receive any emails that ask you for any information about your accounts or for you to verify your bank details, ignore it and delete it. These email scams rely on getting you worried that something will happen to your account if you do not respond – as you can see in this example.

The example above shows how genuine these emails can look.


You should never give any bank details to anyone, whether it is your bank (they already have your details, unless you are changing your name, address or phone number), the police or any telephone caller.