Save, make, understand money


12.3 million Brits have been victims of online fraud: how to stay safe

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

One in four Brits has been a victim of fraud when shopping online – with 8% duped more than once, a report says.

The average fraud victim loses £608 but one in seven has been defrauded by more than £1,000, according to Shieldpay’s fraud tracker.

While two in five victims got the full amount back from their bank or payment provider, the average amount received was just £55 leaving the typical person £553 out of pocket.

One in eight victims got none of their money back, the research found.

The rise of online marketplaces, such as Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree and Shpock, has contributed to a rapid rise in people buying and selling items online.

However, 50% of Brits are wary of sending money directly to a seller.

Peter Janes, founder and CEO of Shieldpay, said: “Banks, businesses and consumers all have a role to play in taking every possible precaution against fraudulent activity online. With scams rampant, however, this is easier said than done.

“More responsibility needs to be taken by banks and businesses in protecting customers online; adoption of technology is one solution that can help to eliminate the risk. Consumers can also ensure they do not become a victim by engaging in safe practices when shopping online.”

How to stay safe when shopping online

Only share payment details with reputable vendors, or using secure payment providers: Be mindful of who you share your payment details with – and if you’re unsure of an online retailer, or you’re dealing with someone you’ve met on an online classified site or marketplace, use a secure third-party payment provider such as PayPal or Shieldpay.

Keep a copy of your orders, and check your statement

Use strong passwords and make sure all your passwords are unique

If you’re buying or selling on a classified site or marketplace, be wary if you’re asked to take the conversation off platform

Be wary of anyone trying to rush a transaction, or flip-flopping between payment methods: This is classic fraudster behaviour, used to distract you so that you’re too flustered to notice other warning signs that indicate something’s not quite right. Always be weary of someone who starts off suggesting one payment method, then changes to another, and another.