Action Fraud, the City of London Police and Get Safe Online are warning consumers to take extra care when shopping for tablets, games consoles, electrical items and other Christmas gifts online.
Fraudsters conned consumers out of more than £12m over Christmas last year through online shopping and auction scams. Action Fraud received more than 10,000 reports, with the average loss to victims more than £1,700.
Record numbers are expected to log-on for Christmas shopping this year – creating opportunities for retailers and bargain hunters, but also presenting opportunities for fraudsters.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: “We are taking the fight to cyber criminals with the newly created National Cyber Crime Unit, which is part of the National Crime Agency.
But the public should also stay vigilant to ensure they don’t lose their hard-earned money on fakes and frauds. Following straightforward steps while shopping online will help the public to avoid cyber fraudsters.”
Action Fraud experts say even the most confident online shopper can be caught out by professional fraudsters. But fraudsters often target vulnerable shoppers who are unsure in using modern technology.
Consumers should look out for the warning signs that a website may not be secure. Action Fraud, Get Safe Online and the City of London Police (who run the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau) encourage online shoppers to be especially careful when using new websites and sites that offer deals that look too good to be true.