Festive shoppers to lose £1.3bn through online scams
THIS Christmas is set to be the most fraudulent ever for online shopping, with UK victims set to lose £1.3 billion, according to new research from Barclays.
The bank is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft, with new figures showing that more than a quarter (31 per cent) of people in Northern Ireland have already been scammed in previous years whilst Christmas shopping online.
Barclays estimate that across the UK festive fraud victims are set to lose up to £1.3 billion and Northern Ireland online shoppers are particularly at risk. Almost half (44 per cent) of online shoppers in the north told Barclays researchers they either don’t know, or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online. Of those who have fallen victim to online fraud, only a fifth (19 per cent) said they check for the padlock authentication symbol in the address bar on the payment page, with even less checking that the web address started with ‘https’ (16 per cent).
The research also notes a drop in confidence shopping online in Northern Ireland over the Christmas period, with the 61 per cent rate, down from the 77 per cent recorded in the rest of the year.
Barclays relationship director, Joanne McArdle urged caution when shopping online.
“Whilst families in Northern Ireland are preparing to enjoy the festive season, criminals are ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down. Buying gifts online may be more convenient than heading to the shops, but with Christmas 2017 set to be the most fraudulent on record, online shoppers must be more vigilant than ever. Beat the fraudsters by looking out for the typical warning signs such as the padlock symbol on retailers’ websites.”
Barclays has issued a number of tips to stay safe online. These include looking out for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar on retailers’ websites, a warning to not use public Wi-Fi to buy gifts and never giving out your PIN or online banking passward, even if asked.