Brits Christmas shopping on unfamiliar websites fall victim to fraud

6 Jan, 2020

In a bid to find the perfect Christmas present, a quarter of Brits have been victims of fraud when shopping online on websites or online marketplaces they wouldn’t normally use. Whether it’s searching for the next ‘it’ toy, rare sport memorabilia or unusual item of jewellery, people are losing money to fraudsters.

Shoppers have lost an average of £203, but for some the financial hit is bigger with 13% of people left between £300 and £1,000 out of pocket. The average loss is also considerably higher for men, at £255, compared to women, £139. It’s the 25-34-year-old age group which is the most likely to experience fraud at Christmas.

Most people who are targeted by fraudsters find that they receive faulty items, or never receive the item in the first place. Of the unlucky shoppers, only half are able to replace their presents in time for Christmas, while a third (34%) have to buy a different item, and 17% go on to buy a cheaper replacement.

Looking at the items that people buy when they are defrauded, a quarter were shopping for electronics and a fifth bought clothes and toys. Over one in ten victims were defrauded when buying holidays and flights online.

Shieldpay’s patent pending payments process mitigates the risk of online shopping fraud by fully verifying the identity of all parties, holding funds securely and only releasing them once both parties confirm they are happy.

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer at secure payments solution Shieldpay, said: “The stress and cost of Christmas shopping is enough without the added risk of receiving fake or faulty items. Unwitting shoppers are losing hundreds of pounds, lured into the array of festive offers and knock-off prices and falling straight into the hands of fraudsters. Scammers up the ante at Christmas time, targeting shoppers who find themselves stumbling onto unfamiliar websites. Thanks to the troubling scale of phoney sellers and counterfeit websites, there needs to be better protection for consumers who shop online.

“Banks and retailers have a duty to safeguard their customers, but shoppers can also be on the lookout: requests to pay via bank transfer, spelling errors and fake information are all red flags. Another way to ease the worries of consumers is to utilise technology that secures transactions. That way, money will not be released until both the buyer and seller are happy.”