Be wary of scams this festive season as up to £100m could be stolen by criminals!

In the run up to Christmas, UK Finance is warning consumers to be vigilant against criminals looking to trick you into gifting them money.

Intelligence from UK Finance suggests that during the festive period, criminals will lure customers into transferring money and sharing personal information which could put them at risk of losing thousands of pounds. UK Finance estimates that in December, criminals could steal up to £100 million across 200,000 cases of all types of payment fraud, including around 20,000 cases of authorised push payment (APP) fraud.  

Ben Donaldson, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance said:   

Unscrupulous criminals will stop at nothing to commit fraud and that includes exploiting the festive season to target people. Whether selling fictitious goods online, impersonating delivery companies to get you to hand over personal information or offering you loans for festive shopping, criminals will try anything to ruin your holidays and steal your money.   

We estimate that up to £100 million could be stolen via payment fraud in December alone, so please don’t give a gift to these callous thieves. Follow the advice of our Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign. Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your information or money as only criminals will try and rush you. It could save your Christmas

Customers should be alert to three particular scams which criminals are likely to pursue and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign to protect yourself from any requests for money or personal information:

Purchase scams  

Ahead of Christmas people should be wary of criminals advertising products for sale at too good to be true prices, on social media and impersonating genuine retailers’ websites with products at low costs.   

People can be tricked into paying money for things that will never turn up so it’s important to be wary of any ‘too good to be true’ offers.  

Remember to always read reviews and buy items from authorised sellers and websites you know to be true. 

Fake delivery text messages / impersonation fraud 

Where customers are ordering lots of products online, or expecting gifts to be sent their way, they should be wary of fake delivery text messages that ask you to pay a fee to receive or rearrange delivery of a parcel. These scams are often part of a wider impersonation scam. 

If someone clicks on a link and provides information, they may then get a phone call from someone claiming to be from their bank after.

Exploiting the personal and financial information provided in the text message, the criminal offers to help safeguard funds by trying to convince someone to transfer money into a 'safe account’, which is in fact an account run by the same criminal(s) that sent the original text message.  

It is important to remember that your bank will never ask you to move money to a safe account.  

Advanced fee fraud 

In the run up to Christmas, customers might be looking to earn or borrow some more money and we have seen criminals advertising fake job adverts or fake loan adverts to exploit this.

Fraudsters will try and get people to pay a commission fee or a deposit in order to progress with a job or loan application, which will never materialise.  

It is important to check that the recruiter or loan company you are speaking to is genuine and to read any reviews about them before engaging with them.  

Like many scams, the criminals will be offering you a deal that’s too good to be true, so be wary of any request to make or loan money that seems unusual.   

Area of expertise:

Notes to editor

More advice on how customers can protect themselves from scams is available from the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign.

Advice on staying safe:  

It’s important to always stay alert and follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud Campaign:


Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe. 


Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. 


Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.