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Preventing Fraud Ahead of Christmas

Fraud is now one of the most common crimes in the UK and very much a threat to our national security. Educating customers is therefore really important, particularly given fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash.

Purchase scams

Purchase scams occur when someone is tricked into sending money via bank transfer (usually a Faster Payment) to buy goods or services, often advertised online, that don’t actually exist. 

Fraudsters took advantage of supply chain issues during the early days of the pandemic, when many shops were closed and people trying to get hold of items online were forced to pay inflated prices or buy from sellers on social media. 

The scammers’ new target is those who are desperate to buy must-have or hard-to-find items in the run up to Christmas, but are struggling to buy from well-known retailers. 

Top 10 most common purchase scams reported over the last three months:

  1. Vehicles and parts
  2. Phones and accessories
  3. Puppies and dogs
  4. Trainers and shoes
  5. Gaming consoles
  6.  Clothes and fashion
  7. Home furniture
  8. Amazon vouchers
  9. Watches
  10. Event tickets

When fraudsters are most likely to strike

We need to make sure Christmas doesn’t come early for the criminals. Research from Lloyds Bank suggests that supply chain issues and people’s shopping habits could leave them more vulnerable to scams, with shortages of in-demand gifts meaning almost two thirds (63%) of Brits say they are prepared to take more risks when shopping in the lead up to Christmas.

As a result, almost two fifths (39%) said they would purchase from anywhere which had the product they were looking to buy, even if it wasn’t a well-known retailer or one they had bought from before. More than one in five (21%) even said that they would not be put off by a website that had either no reviews or purely negative ones.

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