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1. Time is of the essence! Call your bank if you’ve lost money.

If you’ve been scammed or think you’ve been scammed, telephone you bank or card provider immediately. Although a payment has been made, your bank might be able to help by stopping the transaction and prevent further fraud.

2. Online Marketplaces

Scammers are an ever-present problem on online marketplaces, especially on platforms where an advertising fee is not charged, such as on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, Etsy and Pinterest, etc. 

If you want buy or sell items on online marketplaces, take care before you transfer anyone money; or put anything in the post.   


  • Meeting sellers in-person and physically viewing the item before making a payment reduces your risk of being scammed
  • Reservation and holding-fees are requested by scammers to trick people into paying money before they have seen an item
  • Do not use any payment links that are sent to you. Payments should be made on the official website.
  • Check the Seller’s profile. Is the person local?  Have they tried selling the same items before and elsewhere (e.g. community groups in Jersey, UK cities, etc.?) 
  • Does the cost of the item seem surprisingly cheap?


  • Scammers will often make a strange payment requests, e.g. that they’re busy and have to post cash but need to pay for insurance on the item.
  • Fake payment receipts, e.g. PayPal receipts, are created by the Scammer to trick someone
  • Don’t accept the word of a buyer that they have made payment. Check your back account for receipt of payment before you post any items

3. Fake websites

Many people fall victim to fake websites, as they try to look exactly like a company’s real website, they simply look like trustworthy places to make purchases.

To avoid being scammed, try finding out more about the website:

  • Is this website the official website for the company?
  • Try doing some research on any websites and companies that you’re not familiar with and then look for reviews about the company from reliable sources.

4. Avoid websites that do not have good security

  • Check for ‘https://…’ in web addresses or a locked padlock symbol in your browser.
  • If the website address starts with ‘http’ it means that the website is not safe for providing your personal and payment details.

5. Checking out as a Guest

Guest Checkout

  • You provide fewer personal details.
  • Ideal if you don’t use the website often.
  • Fewer details are available for scammers to gather, if the website or company is hacked

Using an Account

  • Can be useful and quicker if you regularly use the website for purchases or when you want to see your purchase history.
  • Requires the website to have more of your personal information (address, phone number, repeated purchases etc.)

6. Adverts on social media (e.g. Facebook and Instagram) could be scams

  • Avoid clicking links on advertisements unless you are sure that they are safe
  • If you are unsure about a website, don't give any personal or financial information.
  • Schedule and run anti-virus scans regularly.
  • If you think you may have visited a suspicious website, run a scan.

 7. Post and Parcel delivery scams - SMS messages

At this time of year, you can expect delivery times to be longer. Unfortunately, there is also an increase in scams relating to deliveries.

  • Common missed-delivery or shipping-fee scam texts claim to be from popular couriers, e.g. Royal Mail, Evri, DHL, etc. 
  • Avoid clicking on any website links
  • If you have clicked the link, do not provide personal information and do not download anything
  • Check your post at home to look for a notice card, if you’re unsure about the text.
  • Royal Mail missed-delivery texts will be scams because Royal Mail do not deliver items to Isle of Man homes.
  • Staying vigilant around this time of year is the best way to avoid falling victim to the scams.

8. Be wary of scam emails

Some scam emails can look very similar to real emails.

Check emails for common signs of a scam. Visit our Phishing guide at

Check email addresses against others you have received in the past.

Do not click website links or ‘buttons’ on unexpected emails from businesses.  Send any suspicious emails to

9. Use Strong Passwords

  • Create a strong password for your online accounts by using three memorable (but random) words. For example, ‘WaterPencilCoffee’.
  • Adding numbers and special characters to the password increases the password strength.
  • Use unique passwords for each of your important accounts such as for social media, email, banking, and for websites storing banking details.
  • Try using a Password Manager app, where you can create and save your passwords securely.

This page was last reviewed on 11/12/2023