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UK ‘set for record online fraud this Christmas’

Written by Anthony Strzalek
20/11/2017

This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays.

With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.

The bank’s research found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of online scams happen over the Christmas period, costing victims on average £893 – over twice the average Christmas budget for presents, food, drink and entertainment and equating to an eye-watering £1.3bn across the country.

Brits are in danger of losing the war with fraudsters this Christmas, because they do not know how to protect their data and stay safe online. Almost four in ten (38 per cent) online shoppers told Barclays researchers they either do not know, or are not sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online.

As a result, of those people who had fallen victim to online fraud, less than a quarter (23 per cent) said they checked for the padlock authentication symbol in the address bar on the payment page, with the same number checking that the web address started with ‘https’.

Across online shoppers in general, only a slim majority (58 per cent) said they feel safe shopping online around the Christmas period. This is a noticeable overall drop in confidence compared to other times of the year, when 78 per cent say they feel secure when shopping online.

Samantha White of Barclays 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.

“Buying your gifts online may be more convenient, but with Christmas 2017 set to be the most fraudulent on record, online shoppers must be more vigilant than ever. Beat the fraudsters by looking out for the typical warning signs such as the padlock symbol on retailers’ websites.”