Highstreet shopping

November 2021 -

Fraud Update

Criminals are constantly finding new and unique ways to steal your data and money. Here, we focus on online shopping scams and frauds involving cryptocurrency.


16th November 2021


Can you spot an online purchase scam?

Last year, online payment fraud* doubled in the weeks leading up to Black Friday.

This year, Black Friday falls on 26 November with Cyber Monday on 29 November, however, discounts are increasingly offered throughout the month.

Being able to identify potential online scams is vital, not just for this period but at any time, particularly in the run up to Christmas. Many ‘deals’ may not be what they seem, so to ensure your festive season shopping is done safely and securely:


*Financial Times, Online fraud surges ahead of Black Friday, 26 November 2020.

Online shopping
  • Do your research. Check the prices of items you are interested in before Black Friday weekend so you have a better idea of the true saving. If a deal looks too good to be true, it is probably a scam.
  • Only use secure websites from trusted brands. Look for the padlock symbol or ‘https’ in the address bar.
  • Use debit or credit cards to make purchases as you have added protection. Never make a bank transfer.
  • Watch out for fake mobile messages, social media adverts, and emails with suspicious links, grammar, and spelling mistakes or communication which appears ‘off brand’. These may include:
    • fake confirmation of order emails
    • fake offers or links to vouchers
    • text alerts about missed deliveries
  • Often, a quick internet search of the company name and the word ‘scam’ will identify if there is a known scam in circulation.

Planning to invest in cryptocurrency?
Are you prepared to lose all your money?

Criminals can use a variety of methods to gain access to your online banking or to persuade you to transfer money to their account. They may pretend to be a legitimate organisation such as your bank, the police, or an energy or internet service provider. They may contact you out-of-the-blue by telephone or by email.

Our last newsletter highlighted the increasing reports of fraud scams linked to cryptocurrency investments. We recognise these can be legitimate investments, but are you fully aware of the risks?

There is no such thing as a guaranteed return. The market can be extremely volatile. As an example, Bitcoin has seen huge swings both up and down so far this year.


cryptocurrency sells


Cryptocurrency is regulated in the UK mostly for anti-money laundering purposes only. You are unlikely to be protected even if the cryptocurrency exchange is regulated by the FCA. If things go wrong, you are unlikely to have access to services such as the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Cryptoassets can provide benefits for users. However, the lack of regulation and central controls also means there are large numbers of unscrupulous traders, scams, and criminals operating in the sector. Pressure selling, adverts which overstate returns or understate risks, celebrity endorsements, and traders who offer to set up your crypto wallet are all signs of a scam.

  • Do your research. Visit the FCA website and search for 'cryptoassets’ for further information.
  • Be alert to fake cryptocurrency investment adverts, apps, and websites designed to steal your data or cash.
  • If you do invest, make sure that you have sole control of your crypto wallet.

Other common scams observed in 2021


Always take a moment to think before handing over your personal/security information or cash. If you are being put under pressure, it is likely to be a scam. Call us on +44 (0)20 7012 2900 at any time if you think you may have fallen victim to a scam.

Contactless payments

On 15 October this year, the value for an individual contactless card payment increased from £45 to £100, and the cumulative spending amount before a PIN is required increased from £130 to £300. This means that if a criminal steals your card, they can spend up to £300 without needing to enter a PIN. Take steps to ensure you keep your cards safe and always stay alert to your surroundings. If your card is lost or stolen, you or any other cardholder must notify us immediately.

Becoming a client

Take control of your finances today by completing our enquiry form. Alternatively, you can call us on the number below and one of our team will be more than happy to talk about your future.

+44 (0)20 7012 2500

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