Police Advice On Safer Online Shopping At Christmas

This Christmas, Action Fraud and Gloucestershire Constabulary are reminding shoppers to take extra care when shopping for gifts online. 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.

The latest report by Action Fraud shows that fraudsters conned 15,024 shoppers out of more than £11 million over the Christmas period last year.

People are being defrauded on popular social media websites and online auction sites. Action Fraud works together with platforms including Gumtree to combat fraud and to issue protect advice to consumers.

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.

Last year, more than 30% of reports were made by women aged between 20 and 29, however anyone can fall victim to Christmas shopping fraudsters during the festive period.

This year’s campaign urges all shoppers to look out for the warning signs that mean an offer may be too good to be true. Action Fraud will provide useful fraud and cyber crime prevention tips throughout December to stop people from getting conned out of the Christmas they deserve.

Don’t get caught out by the Christmas rush!

  • If something seems too much of a bargain, it’s probably poor quality, fake or doesn’t exist.
  • Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.
  • Make sure you’ve installed the latest software & app updates. Criminals use weaknesses in software to attack your devices and steal information, such as your payment details.
  • Use a strong, separate password and 2FA to protect your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.
  • Don’t click on a link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases during the holiday period. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Every Report Matters – if you have been a victim of fraud, report it to us online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Message Sent By
Robert Hardie (Police, Reception, Stow)