Cotswold District Council are warning residents to remain vigilant to avoid scams over the festive period.

The holiday season often sees a spike in fraudulent activities as fraudsters take advantage of the season of goodwill.

One scam sees fraudsters replace QR codes in car parks and create fake websites posing as online payment providers in efforts to cause drivers to make payments for their parking and inadvertently reveal their bank details in the process.

To avert such scenarios, drivers are advised to observe extreme caution when making such payments.

They are advised to only make payments via secured payment portals, such as the PayByPhone app, specifying 0330 400 7275 as the number to dial for PayByPhone.

Drivers can also visit the website by entering or an alternative parking fee provider directly into the search bar.

Facebook Marketplace scams have witnessed a 75% increase in victims, where people often pay for items like clothes, holidays, and tickets, but the goods and services never materialize.

In light of this, the authorities highlighted some red flags, including unusually good offers, immediate payment pressure from sellers, and requests for bank transfers.

People are urged to approach transactions cautiously, preferably opting to use debit or credit cards.

Online shopping scams are also rampant with seasoned criminals establishing sophisticated fake websites to swindle unsuspecting shoppers.

Tips for safer online shopping include checking for a padlock symbol in the address bar and for any slight irregularities in spelling.

People should also check the 'https' protocol in the browser address bar, making sure there is an 's'.

Robert Weaver, chief executive for Cotswold District Council, said: "While the festive season is all about giving and caring, unfortunately there are those who take advantage of people over this period.

"We are encouraging everyone to follow our tips and be on the lookout for fraud and avoid falling victim to these scams."

Victims of fraud are urged to report their experiences to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or online via their webpage.

Besides, free and confidential advice is available from Victim Support by contacting 0808 281 0112 or 0808 168 9111.