Online Christmas shoppers lost more than £15m to fraudsters during last year’s festive season, figures have suggested.
Reports made to Action Fraud and analysed by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showed that shoppers across Wales, England, and Northern Ireland were scammed out of £15.3m between November 2021 and January 2022. Victims of festive online shopping scams lost £1,000 per person on average.
They also revealed that the age group most likely to fall victim was those aged 19 to 25.
– a shopper losing more than £150 trying to buy a mobile phone on social media
– another being duped out of more than £7,000 when trying to buy a camper van online
– a third victim losing almost £500 when trying to buy shoes on a social media platform
Action Fraud and the National Cyber Security Centre are urging people to protect their accounts, check before they buy, and use secure payment methods when shopping online. Advice includes:
Set up 2-step verification and use passwords of three random words to stop cyber criminals gaining access to your shopping, bank or email accounts.
Research online retailers, particularly if you haven’t bought from them before, to check they’re legitimate. Read feedback from people or organisations that you trust, such as consumer websites.
Use a credit card when shopping online, if you have one. Most major credit card providers protect online purchases and are obliged to refund you in certain circumstances. Using a credit card (rather than a debit card) also means that if your payment details are stolen, your main bank account won’t be directly affected. Also consider using a payment platform, such as PayPal, Google or Apple Pay. And whenever you pay, look for the closed padlock in the web address bar – it means your connection is secure.
For more advice on shopping online securely, visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/shopping-online-securely