21 December 2023

Warning: The Christmas presence that could cost you £Thousands

From HSBC UK’s own internal data showing the number of scam payments reported to it and the average value per scam increasing significantly between Christmas and the New Year in 2022 compared with 2021, the bank is warning that consumers should expect to be targeted by scammers over the festive period, who will want to take advantage of people having their guard down, being busy or being full of Christmas spirit.

In the week between Christmas Day and New Years’ Eve in 2022, the average number of reported scam payments increased by almost 25% on the previous year, with the overall value of scams increasing by 35%, compared with the same period in 2021. The average amount scammed per customer over the 2022 Christmas period increased by 10% to over £826 scammed.

Additionally, new research carried out for HSBC UK by YouGov shows that, despite financial challenges around the increased cost of living, a significant number of people are willing to put their money at risk taking payments offline for goods or services from an online provider, which should be made through official payment methods that have customer protection in place. Four in ten people (40%) said they would consider making a payment directly to a seller rather than through the app or website if it meant they secured a bargain. That puts consumers at risk or becoming the victim of a Purchase Scam.

Beware the Christmas presence of scammers

David Callington, HSBC UK’s Head of Fraud, said: “We know with increased cost of living, and when money is tight, people are more likely to seek out a bargain, but we also know that cutting corners to cut costs puts our consumers’ money at risk. Our research shows that potentially millions of people are willing to make payments outside of an approved app or online payment process, opening themselves up to scammers who are preying on those willing to take the risk.

“We know that scammers are still present over the festive period, and with busy families who might be more easily distracted they could be easy prey for scammers who have no concern for the mental or financial wellbeing of their victims, or whether it ruins Christmas or new year. They are only interested in getting your money, not the impact it will have on you, your family or your finances.”

Media enquiries to:

Steve Gracey, HSBC UK Press Office: 020 7991 4118 / steve.gracey@hsbc.com

Note to editors:

HSBC UK serves over 14.75 million customers across the UK, supported by 24,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates.

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of $3,021bn at 30 September 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.