As Christmas shopping frenzy Cyber Monday (December 2nd) approaches, research has found that British online shoppers have been victims of fraud totalling GBP1.5bn in the past twelve months.
According to the research, conducted by Barclays and Kaspersky Lab, supporting partners of Getsafeonline.org, more than four million people have fallen victim to online fraud in the UK since last December, with an average loss of GBP371 per incident.
Online criminals could be set for a fraud field day on Cyber Monday, as [iii]33.6 million people plan to purchase their Christmas gifts online this year.
Despite online shopping becoming part of the fabric of life in the UK, there are still large numbers of consumers who have a naive attitude to the risk of fraud with over a quarter (27%) admitting that they don’t take the precautionary measure to protect their finances online.
To prevent the festive period becoming a windfall for fraudsters, Barclays and Kaspersky Lab are encouraging the nation to be more netwise and to pay greater attention to their internet security.
Alex Grant, Managing Director, Fraud Prevention at Barclays, said: “As the number of people shopping online is set to peak this Monday – with 33.6 million of us planning to do our shopping on the web this Christmas – cyber-criminals will have a field day if precautions aren’t taken. Our research has shown that internet shoppers will be faced with a high level of threat to their personal and financial information as they hit the online stores this Christmas.”
“If everyone takes some simple steps, we can all avoid giving fraudsters a gift this Christmas.”
When it comes to taking precautions online, consumers should be following the cautious habits of older shoppers. While over eight in ten (82%) of over 55s take precautionary measures to protect their finances, just six in ten (62%) 18-24 year olds do the same.
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online commented: “I’ve been talking to people about shopping safely online for years but every Christmas, without fail, I see worrying statistics about people being scammed online. £1.5 billion is a huge amount of money. The problem is, scams are evolving and getting more sophisticated all the time, they also change as trends come and go so it’s understandable that people sometimes get caught out.”
Top tips on how to protect yourself whilst shopping online this festive season:
1. Keep contact details up to date: ensure your bank has up-to-date mobile/telephone contact numbers for you so they can speak to you if they spot unusual or suspicious activity on your account.
2. Get up to date security software: make sure your computer and your web-enabled phone are protected with up-to-date internet security software.
3. Look for the ‘S’: only ever access your internet banking or shopping sites by typing the address into your browser – never go to a website from a link in an email and then enter personal details. Always ensure when transacting online that the URL starts HTTPS rather than HTTP, or has the gold padlock icon, and use only official apps for mobile banking.
4. Treat all unsolicited emails with caution: don’t click on links or open attachments in emails you weren’t expecting or are not sure about.
5. Use strong passwords: passwords should have a mix of letters (upper and lower case) numbers and symbols -avoid obvious things like your name, birthday or phone number that others can guess.
6. Be cautious with online auctions: for higher value items, such as cars and other vehicles, try to see the items before sending any money and always use the insured methods of payment for the internet site rather than direct payments to a seller. Log out after shopping and save the confirmation email as a record of your purchase, and make sure you have registered your cards with Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode.
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