Northern Ireland news

Scam online shopping bargains cost consumers £15.4 million last Christmas

New figures show 28,049 shoppers in the UK were conned out of their money when shopping online over the Christmas period last year

SCAM online shopping bargains cost consumers £15.4 million over the Christmas period last year, according to new figures.

Data from Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, reveals that 28,049 shoppers in Britain and Northern Ireland were conned out of money when shopping online over Christmas last year – an increase of almost two thirds compared to the same period in 2019.

Ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Action Fraud has warned the public to take extra care.

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, said reports of shopping fraud have continued to surge.

"Christmas is an incredibly busy time for us all but sadly, criminals will see this is as an ideal opportunity to take advantage of shoppers who are caught up in the excitement of securing a bargain online," she said.

"If you think you have found a bargain that is too good to be true, it probably is. Stop and think before making a purchase as it could protect you and your money.

"Always shop with official retailers and follow our simple advice to enjoy shopping online safely and ensure you are not left empty handed this Christmas."

During the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale events between November 23 and December 6 2020, almost £2.5m was lost to criminals – an average loss of almost £550 per victim.

Shoppers reported buying mobile phones, electronics, cars and clothing and footwear on sites including Facebook, eBay and Gumtree, only to have the items never arrive.

Action Fraud has advised shoppers to review a seller's feedback history before going ahead with the purchase and use a credit card which offers buyer protection.

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