Parents have been warned that they might be scammed while trying to save money in Cyber Monday sales.
City of London Police force say that fraudsters are targeting parents hunting out bargains for their children’s Christmas presents, and in particular, the most popular toys of the year.
The products most frequently affected by discount scams are UGG Boots and Apple products, but in 2017 Fingerling toys were also affected and experts warn the same is likely to happen this year too.
Fake websites lure parents into paying money through insecure software that can be hacked, card details stolen and duplicated. The police say if a deal looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Detective Chief Superintendent Pete O’Doherty said: “Unfortunately, at what is an expensive time of year for many, the internet has provided fraudsters with a platform to lure people in with the promise of cheap deals.
“To stop fraudsters in their tracks, be cautious of where and from whom you’re buying, especially if it is technology at a reduced price.”
The Fingerling toys, which come in the form of monkeys, unicorns or sloths, react to sound and touch and sing, burp and blow kisses.
Parents can protect themselves by being wary of stupidly cheap offers, only paying for goods via a secure platform (rather than by bank transfer), and by using two factor authentication.
You can also ensure your software is updated and passwords secure before starting any Christmas shopping spree. Experts have warned that faking websites to look like Amazon is a common scamming tactic.
“Be cautious of where and from whom you’re buying, especially if it is technology at a reduced price.””
In 2017, parents were warned about the rise in fake Fingerlings that were potentially dangerous and not up to safety standards.
Local councils urged parents to be wary of turning to suspect online sellers to get hold of toys that are out of stock elsewhere. Across the country thousands of counterfeit toys were seized, including many which contained parts that posed a choking hazard to children.
Councillor Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Christmas can be a great time for bargains but it can also be a magnet for dodgy traders and criminals who won’t think twice about making easy money from selling dangerous toys to unsuspecting shoppers.
“Faulty electrical toys can lead to fires or electrocution, inferior materials can break and cause injuries, while toxic levels of ingredients can cause burns, illness and even prove fatal.”