Web shoppers warned over major surge in online scams

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Magura)

Warnings are being issued to online shoppers as the number of internet and email scams continue to rise. Fake websites and social media posts are being used to dupe consumers into parting with their cash, according to several of the UK’s major banks.

It’s a situation echoed by Action Fraud, the UK fraud reporting service, which has found that £356.6million was lost to fraud in July alone.

The findings show that online fraud rose by 286 percent compared to March this year, when £92.3 million was lost when lockdown first took hold. However, following the easing of restrictions banks have found that scams have been changing. TSB reports that online scams are now focusing more on the sale of aspirational items, including holiday homes, caravans and camping equipment.

Fraud advice

Dubious deals on foreign currency have also been cited as being particularly appealing to those targeted in the 16-21-year-old age group. Victims lost, on average, around £250.

Other popular items being offered for sale in dodgy online sales have included games consoles, hot tubs and puppies. Shockingly, close to 700 people lost £282,686 in March and April after putting down deposits on pets being advertised online.

Action Fraud advises that as online shoppers become increasingly targeted the best method for purchases made online is to use a secure payment method. Buying goods using a credit card or PayPal should be used in favour of making bank transfers. It also underlines the need to pay attention to warnings issued from your bank if you're about to proceed with an online transfer.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.