A report from Action Fraud, the national centre for fraud and cybercrime, has revealed that at least 15,000 online shoppers were duped into fake deals last Christmas.
Overall, £11 million was lost to fraudsters posting fake ads online. In an attempt to stop this being repeated in 2018, the organisation has launched a campaign to fight festive fraud this Christmas.
Alongside City of London police and Get Safe Online, Action Fraud have published some top tips to help spot online shopping scams. These include being beware of online bargains that seem too good to be true. They often are, with consumers being sent fakes or receiving nothing at all. Another tip is to avoid paying for goods bought online via bank transfer. Using this method of payment leaves shoppers without the fraud protection that a card payment offers.
The fake ads were mainly posted on popular social media websites like facebook and online auction sites like ebay. Electronic items made up the bulk of the fraud, with mobile phones the most common item listed by fraudsters. Apple Iphones made up 74% of all phone scams. The frauds also included household items, clothes and toys. The report also showed that online shopping fraud at Christmas is on the rise, increasing 24% since 2015.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said:
“Christmas can be a really busy and often stressful time, so it can be easy to rush into making a quick purchase online to secure a must have gift or bargain without taking the time to check that everything is as it seems.
“But, taking a couple of minutes to familiarise yourself with a few simple online safety tips can be the difference between getting all your shopping done in time and becoming a victim of online fraud.”
For more info on avoiding online shopping scams this Christmas, have a look at Get Safe Online’s top tips.
For our tips on keeping costs down for offline shopping, take a look at our updated Supermarket Shopping Tips page here.