Christmas shoppers warned online thieves ‘ready to strike’

Despite risk of scammers most internet shoppers feel safe online
Despite risk of scammers most internet shoppers feel safe online

Christmas shoppers are being warned to watch out for online scams, as research suggests fraudsters are particularly likely to strike during the festive season.

A survey of people who have been scammed found that in more than a quarter (26%) of cases, it happened at Christmas.

Victims lost £893 on average, according to research from Barclays - which is more than double the average Christmas shopping budget at £422.

Samantha White, who leads Barclays’ work to keep customers safe from fraudsters, said: “While families across the UK are preparing to enjoy the festive season, criminals are getting ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down.”

With shopping bonanzas such as Black Friday approaching, the research found that nearly two-fifths (38%) of people said they do not know or are not sure how to identify a secure website when shopping online.

Just over half (58%) of online shoppers in general said they feel safe buying on the internet around the Christmas period.

The research included a general survey of more than 2,000 adults as well as an additional survey of 1,700 people who have been scammed.

Here are some tips from the BarclaysDigiSafe team to stay safe while shopping online:

:: Look out for the padlock symbol and “https” in the address bar on retailers’ websites.

:: Watch out for deals that look “too good to be true”.

:: Do not use public Wi-Fi to purchase Christmas shopping online.

:: Never give out your Pin or online banking password - legitimate websites will not ask for it.

:: Keep an eye on your bank balance so that you can spot and report fraudulent transactions quickly.