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Extensive festive shopping fraud costs revealed

27 November 2018 - 10:58 by Sarah Collinson

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The latest statics from Action Fraud suggest that British consumers were duped out of £11 million by fraudsters last Christmas as a result of a variety of tactics being used online.

In total around 15,000 people became victims of e-commerce cons, whether as a result of phishing campaigns, phoney product reviews or fake goods being shipped in place of legitimate ones, according to Which?.

The most widespread trick used by cybercriminals was to offer low price deals on sought after mobile phone models, take payment for the handsets and then never fulfil the orders. The iPhone range was the most widely hawked device in this case, although similar tactics were deployed for fashion products, large electronics and other products.

The report also looked at which demographics were most susceptible to being targeted and having their attempts at shopping online subverted by experts. Female consumers in their 20s made up the bulk of cases reported last Christmas, representing almost a third of the total number of victims in the UK.

Experts recommend a number of ways in which consumers can steer clear of e-commerce fraud, chief amongst which is shopping online with reputable outlets and being aware that any offer which seems too good to be realistic is likely a scam.

Another important step to take is to make sure that security software on any device used to shop online is up to date. New threats are always emerging so it is not wise to surf the web with an unpatched mobile, laptop or PC.

The final guidance provided by experts relates to the reporting of fraud, with calls for more people to alert the authorities when they are scammed in order to get a more accurate picture of the market and improve anti-fraud efforts as a result.