More than 1 in 10 shoppers ‘have fallen for a purchase scam’


Christmas shoppers are being warned against shopping scams, as more than one in 10 (11%) say they’ve been scammed.

Purchase scams happen when criminals try to entice a shopper with a highly discounted price, but the goods never arrive or are either fake or of poor quality.

They may request a bank transfer – instead of paying via methods like PayPal or cards can provide shoppers with better consumer protection.

Scammers can also copy genuine websites, so check the URL and look for padlock/https tags that indicate a secure site.

Despite the risk, about one in eight (13%) of people said they would buy items that seem too good to be true without doing basic testing, research, from National Construction Association establish.

With supply chain issues unfolding this year, it can be harder than ever to find the must-have gift. This could mean that people are more tempted than ever to shop on websites they’ve never heard of.

Ed Fisher, National Building Association

About 4 in 10 (42%) of more than 2,000 people surveyed said they were worried about being the victim of a shopping scam.

Meanwhile, almost a third (35%) claim they would never be scammed when making a purchase – rising to 49% among 16- to 24-year-olds.

Nationwide says its own data shows the highest percentage of purchase scam victims are between the ages of 21 and 30, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all cases.

The majority of people (60%) surveyed have the purpose of buying their gifts through the websites of famous retailers. Almost a quarter (24%) of shoppers will visit social media or auction sites, and a fifth (20%) will choose lesser known sites.

Two-thirds (69%) of people store their details on websites for faster checkout, but Nationwide warns that this could be a risk if the site is hacked.

On average, people have their details, including tag details, across eight sites – while 13% have no idea how many sites their details are hosted on.

Recent regulatory changes require “strong customer authentication” to help prevent fraudulent use of other people’s online card details without the account holders’ knowledge.

Buyers may be asked to authenticate the purchase via their banking app or by entering a one-time passcode sent to them.

Nationwide recently introduced a scam checking service that allows its members to check a payment if they are concerned about it at a branch or by calling a toll-free number 24/7 (0800 030 4057).

If they check before making the payment and it goes ahead and the member is subsequently scammed, Nationwide will refund the full damages.

Ed Fisher, Head of Financial Crime at Nationwide Building Society, said: “Given the supply chain issues this year, it’s probably harder than ever to figure out what’s right now.

“This could mean people are more tempted than ever to shop on sites they’ve never heard of or turn to private sellers for prices.”

He added: “Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.” More than 1 in 10 shoppers ‘have fallen for a purchase scam’


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