Scam: ‘Never click on links’ claiming to be Amazon, UPS & Evri | Personal Finance | Finance

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Elderly scam victims and a scam text

In addition to social media, scammers will also use email and texts to lure the unwary (Image: GETTY)

January is a traditional period of sales, attracting bargain hunters all over the UK looking for a great deal on that sought after item. But scammers can see us coming. It’s becoming a minefield out there, trying to navigate to a genuine bargain amongst all the trickery and scams put our way.

The festive break is over, and for many people, their attention turns to thoughts of bargains to be found in the January sales, that period of legend where people sometimes camp outside Harrods and other stores to grab some marked-down item the second the store opens. Nowadays, of course, a lot of the January sales burst occurs online.

Lurking in the shadows of the internet, scammers see the January sales period as one in which they can catch countless victims. Around the UK, police forces have been warning communities to be wary of scammers, who are out to take advantage of shoppers both in stores and online.

So what should you look out for?

Watch out for fake reviews

When we’re bargain-hunting online, it seems useful to click through to the reviews and see what other customers have to say about a particular product. This makes a lot of sense, but you have to be careful to be sure that the reviews are genuine and not fake. ‘Brushing scams’ have been on the rise, where unscrupulous companies send unwanted products to people and generate fake reviews to raise the profile of an inferior product, giving it a higher but false rating.

Warning signs to watch out for include multiple reviews being posted at about the same time, overwhelming, sycophantic praise, and the same phrases or expressions appearing in individual reviews. It’s worth considering looking beyond the five-star reviews and taking a look at the four, three, and two-star reviews to build a clearer picture of what’s good or not so good about a product.

READ MORE: Loan shark scams: ‘Too-good-to-be-true offers’ could see victims lose ‘thousands’

Over the shoulder view of young Asian woman receiving an incoming suspected call from unknown caller on her smartphone and rejecting the call at home. Device screen showing warning sign as detected by the network provider. Phone scam and fraud concept

People will receive unsolicited texts, emails and calls trying to take advantage of the sales (Image: GETTY)

Watch out for counterfeit products

The winter sales period often sees an increase in offers from unfamiliar brands, but also counterfeit, fake versions of familiar ones. It’s best to buy the real thing and be sure who you’re buying it from. Fakes are inferior in quality, contravene copyright law and affect the livelihoods of workers who make the real thing. In some cases, they can also be unsafe to use.

Watch out for cheap products

We all love a genuine bargain. But, sellers in online marketplaces will often jump on the bargains bandwagon by advertising cheap products in the January sales, targeting people on the hunt for a great deal. Some of these ‘bargains’ are nothing of the sort, and could be faulty and even dangerous.

Watch out for fake websites

Scammers set up fake websites that look remarkably close to the real thing, using logos and typography that make it hard to spot. But there are often little telltale signs that the site you’re looking at isn’t quite the real deal. For example, they often use poor English, or the grammar is off, or a poorly drafted phrase or expression is used.

You should always closely check the url. For example, a website for Nike would have the url But if you come across one that is pretending to be Nike and, for example it’s called, presenting itself as if it is genuine, it’s almost certainly not really Nike at all and you should avoid it. Ideally, if you want to visit a website, type the address in yourself to be sure it’s the real thing.

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Scam warning: Follow these three steps to avoid being scammed

Scam warning: Follow these three steps to avoid being scammed (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Watch out for fake offers

Social media platforms are prime turf for scammers to present gifts, tickets or holidays that are not real. Many such offers appearing on social media are genuine, but be cautious about something that catches your eye, just in case it’s the criminals.

Watch out for scam comms

In addition to social media, scammers will also use email and texts to lure the unwary into their web. Many people will receive unsolicited texts, emails and calls from scammers trying to take advantage of the January sales period. Never click on links sent in a text or an unsolicited email.

Watch out for fake delivery texts

It seems almost everyone has received a fake text purporting to be from a delivery company. Royal Mail is often impersonated with scammers claiming that you need to pay an “unpaid shipping fee”. ‘Helpfully’, they include a link for you to click, and if you do they will start the process of acquiring your personal data. Similar fake texts appear to come from Amazon and many of the big courier companies such as UPS, DPD and Evri, but they are not always what they seem. Remember, none of these companies will ever ask you to pay a delivery cost via a text message. If you get a message like this, it’s a scammer trying to trick you. Never click on links in texts, navigate to a genuine website yourself to check.

Watch out for the warning signs of a scam

Never transfer money directly to people or companies you don’t know. You may not be able to recover the money if it’s a fraud. You may have some protection if you pay for things with a credit card, not just products but also holidays, travel and tickets.

Another warning sign is when you get asked for personal details, or when someone seems to be putting pressure on you to make a decision about a purchase, trying to make you act quickly or creating a sense of urgency. These are classic scammer tactics.

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Take steps to limit your exposure

For a scammer to target you, they need some of your personal data. Sometimes they acquire that through buying data stolen from companies by hackers. Your personal data probably sits in thousands of databases held in many companies, including some you may not even have heard of.

One way to reduce your risk of being targeted by scammers is to get your data deleted from any company that doesn’t need it. If scammers can’t get your data then there’s less chance that they’ll come after you in a scam. You can get your data deleted from any company that doesn’t need it by using Rightly Protect. Our service is quick, simple and free.

Scambusters Mail bag – answering your scam questions

I overspent at Christmas and need to take out a small loan to cover some unexpected costs. I’ve seen a lot recently about loan shark scams – how can I make sure the loan I am looking at is legitimate?

The general rule of thumb for scams is to look out for offers that seem too good to be true, as the likelihood is, they are. These scam loans typically offer guaranteed loans that require an upfront fee. However, once you’ve paid the fee, you won’t hear from the criminals again and you’ll never receive the loan. You mention loan sharks, which you also need to be wary of. Loan sharks are people who lend money to people without the required licence to do so, which automatically puts your money at risk. Make sure you check the FCA’s Financial Services Register and if the lender isn’t listed as having a current credit licence, don’t borrow money from them.

Tip of the week: Protect your Tweets

Tap on your Profile and scroll down to Settings and privacy. Go to Privacy and Safety and tap Audience and tagging. Toggle on Protect your Tweets. This will ensure only people who follow you will see your Tweets.

Remember: If you have received a text you think is a scam then you can forward to 7726 or take a screenshot and send it to If you are receiving lots of unwanted phone calls or text messages you can also consider removing your details from data brokers, ensuring that you use a right to object to processing of your data. You can learn more about this on Rightly to stop the sharing of your data exposing you to scams. And you can take a free training course on how to fight against scams on The more we talk about scams the more we take away the shame.

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