Cornwall’s Trading Standards team has warned people to be wary when looking for deals while Christmas shopping .

Their message is: “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “This time of year creates financial pressure for many households, and as we all try and find that perfect gift at the right price scammers are seizing the opportunity to exploit shoppers and those waiting for deliveries. 

“If you think you’ve been caught out by any of these kinds of scams it is important to contact your bank or credit card provider straight away. 

“Many banks, building societies and payment providers now offer fraud protection and may be able to refund your money. They will also be able to monitor your account for any suspicious activity.”

They say the main things to look out for at this time of the year include delivery scams, copy-cat or fake websites, poor quality of unsafe goods and special deals.

The main delivery scams involves receiving an email or text, claiming that your courier has been unable to deliver a parcel. You will be prompted to click a link, where you may be asked to pay a small delivery charge. Not only is this designed to take you money, but it’s also designed to capture your personal details, which can be sold to other scammers. 

Copy-cat or fake websites are becoming an increasingly common scam, where a website is created to either mirror a genuine retailer’s site or simply offers branded popular goods at much lower prices. In these cases, consumers will pay, but goods will never be delivered. 

Also with a global online marketplace it is easy to source low price goods and toys from online retailers that are shipped directly to you home from manufacturers outside of the UK. Often these items will not have been subjected to the rigorous safety standards and checks.