Reports of online shopping fraud have surged by 30% over the pandemic as many of us continue to shop online in light of current COVID-19 restrictions. Figures* show that criminals conned a whopping 17,407 shoppers out of £13.5 million over the 2019 festive period, an increase of over 20%, compared to the same period in 2018.
If you’re purchasing items from an online shop you haven’t used before, do some research first. Ask a friend or family member if they’ve used the website or visit online forums for user experiences before completing the purchase.
Only set up an account if absolutely necessary or if you’re going to use the site in the future. Be wary if you’re asked by the site for details that are not needed for your purchase, such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of your first pet.
If you continue with your purchase, ensure that the webpage where you enter your payment details is secure. This is indicated by the website address starting with “https”. Using a credit card to pay online also means that should the worst happen and your payment details are compromised, your main bank account won’t be directly affected.
Some of the messages you receive about amazing offers may contain links to fake websites. Not all links are bad, but if you’re unsure, don’t use the link – go separately to the website.
*Figures from Action Fraud.