London: Sharp jump in Christmas shopping fraud, victims lose £11 million
24 Dec 2018

Police in London are urging the public to stay safe online when doing their Christmas shopping with figures showing a 24% rise in online shopping fraud during the Christmas period between 2015 and 2018.

Individuals are being defrauded on popular social media websites and online auction sites, according to Auction Fraud, which received over 15,000 reports of online shopping fraud during the 2017/18 Christmas period.

Victims reported losing more than £11 million in total, the unit explained.

“As consumers search online for bargains and gifts for loved ones, fraudsters are seeing this as an opportunity to trick people with the promise of great deals and big cash savings.”

Mobile phones were once again the most common item that people tried to buy from fraudsters.

Victims reported being hooked in with bargain deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, only for the phone to never actually arrive and leaving them without presents to give on Christmas Day.

Apple iPhones accounted for 74% of all mobile phones purchased that turned out to be fraudulent.

Electrical goods (including games consoles), household items, computers, clothing, and accessories also featured in many of the reports.

Examples including Fingerling toys, UGG Boots and Apple MacBook’s were among the most popular items victims reported losing money to fraudsters on.

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.”

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