More than one in 10 buyers “have fallen into the trap of buying scams”

Christmas shoppers are being warned to beware of shopping scams, as more than one in 10 (11%) say they’ve been duped.

Buying scams happen when criminals try to tempt buyers with heavily discounted prices, but the products never arrive or are fake or of poor quality.

They can request a wire transfer – rather than payments through methods like PayPal or cards that could offer buyers greater consumer protection.

Crooks can clone genuine websites as well, so it’s worth checking the URL and looking for any padlock / https tags that indicate a website is secure.

Despite the risks, about one in eight people (13%) said they would buy items that sound too good to be true, without performing basic checks, Nationwide Building Society research found.

With the supply chain issues lingering this year, it can be harder than ever to find that much-needed gift. It can mean that people are more tempted than ever to shop on websites they haven’t heard of.

Ed Fisher, National Construction Corporation

About four in ten (42%) of more than 2,000 people surveyed said they feared being the victim of a shopping scam.

Almost a third (35%), meanwhile, say they would never fall for a buying scam, reaching 49% of 16-24 year olds.

Nationwide said its own data shows the highest proportion of shopping scam victims are between the ages of 21 and 30, accounting for more than a quarter (26%) of all cases.

The majority of respondents (60%) aim to purchase their gifts through the websites of well-known retailers. Almost a quarter (24%) of buyers will go to social media or auction sites and a fifth (20%) will go to lesser known sites.

Two-thirds (69%) of people store their information on websites to speed up verification, but Nationwide warned that it can pose a risk if the website is hacked.

On average, people have their information, including their card information, on eight websites, while 13% don’t know how many websites their information is stored on.

Recent regulatory changes require “strong customer authentication” to prevent fraudulent use of online card details by someone else without the knowledge of the account holder.

Buyers can be asked to authenticate their purchases through their banking app or by entering a one-time access code sent to them.

Nationwide recently introduced a scam checker service that allows its members to verify a payment if they are worried about it either at a branch or by calling a 24/7 toll-free number (0800 030 4057).

If they verify before making the payment and the green light is given and the member is subsequently scammed, Nationwide will reimburse the loss in full.

Ed Fisher, Financial Crime Manager at Nationwide Building Society, said, “With supply chain issues lingering this year, it can be harder than ever to find that much-needed gift.

“It may mean that people are more tempted than ever to buy from websites they haven’t heard of or turn to private sellers for a good deal. “

He added: “Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

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