The season of giving is over, and for many we are now entering a period of returning.

Research by secure payments provider Shieldpay found a third of Brits donate their unwanted gifts to charity, while 32% admit to keeping the presents but never using them.

One in six admit to selling unwanted gifts online, taking the opportunity to turn their unwanted gift into fast cash.

Another 17% admit they regift unwanted presents by giving them away the following Christmas

However, the trend for buying and selling gifts online has also presented an opportunity for scammers.

A Shieldpay poll found one in five people have been victims of fraud when purchasing presents online, with one in 10 never getting the item and 8% receiving a fake item.

Shieldpay has some useful tricks to avoid being scammed online.


When you’re asked to take the conversation off platform

Fraudsters will try to contact you directly to take you off the platform’s messaging tools so that it’s harder to prove what has happened throughout the transaction and resolve any type of dispute. Always communicate with the buyer or seller using the platforms recommended way of communicating – it’s designed to keep you safe.


When you’re pressured to rush the purchase

This is classic fraudster behaviour, used to distract you so that you’re too flustered to notice other warnings signs that might indicate something’s not quite right. Always take your time with any purchase and listen to your gut instincts. If something feels off – it probably is.


When they’re to-ing and fro-ing between payment methods

Always be weary of someone that’s starts off suggesting one payment method, then changes to another, and another. Again, they’re doing this to confuse you, so that you’re caught off guard and are less likely to notice other warnings signs.


Be wary of payment options that expose you to fraud

Never give your bank details to a stranger, never carry cash to meet someone you’ve met online. Almost all traditional payment methods expose you to a level of fraud and leave you stuck in the classic buyer-seller stand-off.

Fraudulent buyers will try to get sellers to hand over an item before payment, leaving you to hope that they actually follow through. Fraudulent sellers will try to finalise payment before showing or sending the item and avoid meeting face-to-face.