T’ is the season to be spending.

The pressure of purchasing presents is upon us - and once Christmas is over we will be seduced into seeking bargains during the sales.

Remember the early morning queues around the high street favourites as folk clamoured to bag those all important Boxing Day bargains?

How times have changed! Today’s shoppers don’t even have to stick a toe out of bed to secure that coat they’ve had their eye on, but resisted until now - conscious it would come down in price after Christmas.

Weighing up the pros and cons it’s easy to see the appeal of internet shopping. It’s easy, convenient and, let’s face it, you don’t have to put much effort in which is probably why - according to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute - 84 per cent of people in the UK are considered to be online shoppers.

For all the benefits the convenience of shopping online can bring, there are potential perils particularly at this time of year when shoppers can be even more susceptible to scams, so it’s wise to be aware.

The latest report by Action Fraud shows fraudsters conned 15,024 shoppers out of more than £11 million over the Christmas period last year.

People are being defrauded on popular social media websites and online auction sites. Action Fraud works together with platforms including Gumtree to combat fraud and to issue protect advice to consumers.

Mobile phones are the most common item people tried to buy from fraudsters with victims reporting being hooked in with bargain deals on some of the most popular smart phones only for the phone to never actually arrive and leaving them without presents to give on Christmas Day.

Electrical goods (including games consoles), household items, computers, clothing, and accessories also featured in many of the reports. Fingerling toys, UGG Boots and Apple MacBook’s were among the most popular items victims reported losing money on to fraudsters.

This year’s Christmas campaign urges shoppers to look out for the warning signs . Here are some useful tips to help you shop safely online:- Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Make sure you’ve installed the latest software & app updates. Criminals use weaknesses in software to attack your devices and steal information, such as your payment details.

Use a strong, separate password and 2FA to protect your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.

Don’t click on a link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases during the holiday period. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Every Report Matters – if you have been a victim of fraud, report it online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, also recommends doing your own background checks such a checking out reviews - although he advises to bear in mind that reviews can often be fake.

Check out a company’s trading address - does it actually exist? David advises to Google the trader’s name to see if anyone else has posted anything about it on other sites.

Scrutinise the company’s websites to find out about terms and conditions along with the returns policy. Spelling mistakes or badly worded text can be common on fake websites.

Check the email or website address too - if it is a scam, David says it may have a strange address or come from a free email provider such as Gmail.

If the website starts with https:// - this means the information you send on the website is secure, but the website could still be a scam. If the website has a green padlock in the website address bar - this means the information you send on the site is private.

For those on the look-out for luxury items, David’s advice is to purchase from a reputable trader and pay with a credit card as he explains, you will have more protection.

David also advises to check the manufacturers website to make sure you’re using an authorised distributor or seller. Research prices and find out what the goods are generally sold for.

And, remember if it looks too good then there may be a problem.

Visit actionfraud.police.uk or tradingstandards.uk/consumers/support-advice.