There has been a lot of publicity for the recent McAfee release on the Twelve Scams of Christmas as seen from the United States. Nearer home you might like to consider the top ten in Northern Ireland last year. Mark Jenner, forensic accountants, produced a similar list but in a different order . But some of the most effective scams can arrive through your letter box, not just over the phone or by e-mails. A chain e-mail is currently doing the rounds about a simple but chillingly effective scam: "XYZ parcel service. Sorry you were out, ring nnn (a premium rate number)". Phonepayplus says that the scam covered by the e-mail was closed down in 2005 and gives advice on how to recognise premium numbers.
I wodner whether the chain e-mail is to prepare the ground for a new generation of similar scams using different, more convincing, names and numbers of the introduction to the Uk of some of the postal scams that were running last year in the US - involving the impersonation of postmen or the employees of well-known parcel delivery services.
So who in the UK has produced or is promoting authoritative, easy to read guidance for those who will be shopping on-line next monday - supposedly the peak day for pre-christmas on-line shopping for delivery before Christmas.
P.S. I wonder who made that prediction?
My wife completed her Christmas shopping last week. This is indeed the first year she has done any shopping on-line but most of what she has bought she found in local markets cheaper than I can find it on the Internet. This adds bite to the argument that it is only those in rural areas, with the worst broadband access and highest local prices, who most need to be able shop on-line.
My wife and I use the criteria in the Get Safe on-line guidance on how to avoid an on-line rip-off in particular that the first sign of a reputable supplier is that they give a physical address and phone number. Interestingly that is a legal requirement under the European Union e-Commerce Directive. Those who do not do so can therefore be assumed to be based outside Europe, let alone the UK. Unless they are shipping by air freight you can therefore assume that the goods will not arrive in time for Christmas, if ever.