Now that we are passed Black Friday, it is fair to say that we are well on our way to the festive season. This means that many people will be looking for bargains or great ways to show their loved ones how much they care with a range of gifts. It can be difficult to balance the books at this time of year, so every bit of help and assistance will go a long way. Of course, this means that some people will be so keen to find bargains or great deals that they may actually make bad decisions when it comes to gifts.
There is a saying along the lines of “if something seems too good to be true, it usually is” and this needs to be borne in mind in the run-up to the festive period. This has been the announcement made by the Action Fraud group, and there are a number of fake products to be aware of. People have also been warned to look out for the possibility of fake websites which have been created with the aim of claiming money from people at this very busy time of year.
Criminals look for easy opportunities
Criminals are always looking for an opportunity to make quick and easy money. When people are looking for bargains or perhaps are pre-occupied with so much on their mind that they don’t give decisions the attention it is due, they can make mistakes. This is all some criminals need to be motivated and this is why a lot of fraudulent activity takes place at this time of year.
Some of the gifts that are likely to be offered by criminals at this time of year include mobile phones, jewellery, clothes and shoes, so be on the lookout for these goods. You also need to think about when or how you are offered these goods and if you have reasons to be suspicious, it is important that you approach with caution.
There are still some good deals to be had in life but many deals or offers are nowhere near as appealing as they are first sound. This is why you should always take extra care at this time of year because the deadline associated with the festive period may see you looking to take action at shorter notice than you would normally find acceptable.
For the festive period in 2016, it is estimated that close to £16 million was lost in fraud shopping. Some of the most common items that were reported to the fraud squad include Fitbit watches, drones, hair dryers and products associated with Kylie Jenner and Kanye West.
The 2016 crime figures relating to festive fraud was up by 25% on the 2015 figures and a high proportion of festive fraud was associated with online auctions. It is therefore essential that people are way of the dangers caused by these sites and the risks they take by shopping on them.
Spread awareness on social media
As is the way these days, there is a big focus on social media and there has even been a hashtag set up to spread awareness about the dangers of fraud at Christmas. You should be looking out for the #ThoughtThatCounts hashtag as a reminder to take some time out to pause and think about what you are actually buying. There will also be a number of videos released that will highlight the wide array of problems that can arise from one small mistake or error.
While the festive period is an exciting time for many people, it can also be a difficult time for a lot of people. There are people who struggle financially and there are also people who don’t appreciate the time of year. Some people don’t like Christmas and there are people whose personal circumstances ensure that Christmas isn’t as much fun as a lot of people think it should be.
There is always help available for people who need it, and this is especially true when it comes to managing the finance aspect of the festive period. It would be all too easy to rush into bad decisions and be aware that if you do need assistance, it will be available for you.
Hopefully you can look forward to the festive period with confidence but if not, be aware that there is help and assistance available.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.