New research warns that shoppers in Britain could lose up to £800 million to online shopping scams this festive season.
According to a report from F-Secure, scams are set to increase rapidly over the next two months as shoppers rush to do their festive shopping, which could end up costing the country the aforementioned eye-watering amount.
Other research has found that more than 13 million Britons have fallen victim to online shopping scams in the past year, causing a total of £1.4 billion in losses in Britain.
Big or small: the threat is the same
F-Secure commissioned a survey of 2,000 adult Brits who had been scammed while shopping and found that those under 25 were the worst hit in financial terms, losing up to £245 over the Christmas period. However, it was the target group between 25 and 34 years who were most likely to fall victim to such scams.
The study also found that men are slightly more likely to be scammed than women (28% to 21%).
Fashion and gift shops were the two most likely retail categories to be scammed (16% each). This was closely followed by retail fraud involving technology or IoT devices (15%), beauty (13%) and food (13%). Sports equipment, furniture, vehicles and travel all amounted to 12%. Ticket shopping for events amounted to 11%.
Furthermore, the research also found that smaller, independent retailers are more likely to suffer as Britons avoid shopping with them in the misguided belief that it would be safer to stick with large retailers.
However, small, independent stores were responsible for just 27% of retail fraud in Britain last year, only slightly more than platforms such as Amazon and eBay (23%).
F-Secure recommends that customers use credit cards whenever possible as they are more likely to be reimbursed in the event of a scam. It also advises shoppers to check site reviews but be wary of too many top ratings as this could indicate purchasing from fake reviews.
It also advises that stores with prices that appear too low should proceed with caution and therefore check for other possible signs of danger. F-Secure also has its own ‘Online Shopping Checker’ tool that it claims can help determine whether a store is legitimate or not.
In addition to the holidays, Black Friday is also a retail safety concern. Research from Imperva has shown that Account Take Over (ATO) attacks are expected to increase during this period, with cybercriminals attempting to gain access to user accounts using stolen passwords. During Black Friday last year, ATO attacks increased by 66% worldwide.