Christmas shopping scam warning

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Fake hair straighteners

Online shoppers are being warned to be wary of fake websites when browsing the net this Christmas.

East Renfrewshire’s trading standards team have voiced concerns over annual scams which dupe consumers into buying counterfeit goods, either from fake sites or through social network sites.

According to the prevention team, items are often poor quality ­ or even dangerous to use ­ with sites claiming to be UK­based sending counterfeit products from Asia at discounted prices.

The experts also warn against buying from individuals without seeing the product in person, through social media.

Eleanor Griffiths, of the East Ren team, has provided Extra readers with top tips when buying online, whether it’s Christmas presents or Boxing Day bargains.

She said: “Just because the website address ends in, that doesn’t mean it is based in the UK. Check the contact us page. If there’s only an email address or an online form then don’t buy.

“Beware of traders who use a PO Box as an address ­ the trader could be based anywhere.”

Eleanor continued: “When you visit a website, enter the address manually ­ never follow an email link, as it may take you to a fake website where scammers can retrieve your bank details. Stick to trusted companies instead.

“Using a credit card means you have the protection of making a claim against your card company for non­-delivery of goods or fraud.

“And check the website is secure ­ look for a padlock at the bottom right of the browser window.”