Fraudsters are finding new ways to trick people online, with more and more people losing money via adverts on social media. Lloyds Bank is urging people to tread carefully and is warning them of the red flags to look out for.
Scammers will go to any extent to con Britons out of their hard earned cash, often jumping on events happening around the world like the war in Ukraine to trick people into handing over money.
Now they are taking advantage of more people shopping online looking for a bargain.
So far this year, reports of purchase scams involving shoes and trainers have more than doubled, soaring by a massive 112 percent compared to the same period last year, with victims losing £152 on average.
Liz Ziegler, Retail Fraud & Financial Crime Director, Lloyds Bank, said many scammers are now turning to social media.
She said: “Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash, and with designer trainers amongst the latest must-have items being targeted, the criminals are ready to hotfoot it away as soon as they have their hands on your money.
“Purchase scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that don’t exist.
“When shopping online, the best way to keep safe is to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible, and always pay by card for the greatest protection.
“If you’re unable to do those things, that should be a big red flag that you’re about to get scammed.”
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Purchase scams occur when someone is tricked into sending money via bank transfer to buy goods or services – often advertised online or via social media – that don’t exist.
Fraudsters are always looking for the next trend they can exploit to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash.
While they’ll typically advertise goods at well below their recommended retail price to tempt consumers, when items are scarce or in high demand, they can cash in on desperate buyers willing to pay much more.
It’s not just adverts for trainers that are fooling people, another item that’s seen an explosion in reported purchase scams this year is tickets.
While the overall number of ticket scams being reported is lower than some other items, the number of cases being reported has rocketed by a staggering 603 percent already this year.
The average amount lost is £251, with football matches and concerts the events most likely to appear in fake adverts.
The number of purchase scams involving electrical goods is also up by over a third already this year, with £174 the average amount lost.
Many consumers remain unaware that bank transfers were not designed as a way of paying for goods and services online, and therefore offer little protection if something goes wrong.
Top tips from Lloyds Bank to stay safe from purchase scams:
- Always use your debit or credit card when you buy online. This helps to protect your money should anything go wrong.
- Fraudsters use social media to post scam offers. They can even send them straight to your inbox. Always search for deals yourself.
- Check any offer that comes by text or email to make sure it’s genuine. Call the sender to find out using a number you trust, not one in a message. Or visit the website to check. Never click on a link without checking first.
- Low prices and great deals can hide scams. See if you can find them elsewhere. And remember, if an item is selling out, fraudsters can charge more to trick desperate buyers.
- Make sure a seller or website is genuine. Look for good reviews from different buyers. Be wary of mixed, bad or no reviews at all. It’s better to buy from a trusted retailer.
- Ask questions before you buy. If an item is expensive, offer to pay a deposit. If a seller can’t give any details about an item or tries to rush you into paying, it’s probably a scam.