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Online shopping scams rise 37% during 2020 1st half in UK

Oct '20
Incidences of online shopping and auction fraud in the United Kingdom rose by over a third (37 per cent) during the first half of 2020, reaching 40,900 cases. This was an increase of 11,000 reports on the 29,900 for the same period last year, according to personal finance comparison site Finder.com, which commissioned and analysed a freedom of information (FoI) request to Action Fraud.

Online shopping and auction fraud is when a product is advertised in a misrepresenting manner on an online shop or auction site. It also includes when customers who buy products through these sites do not receive the items they purchased.

The FoI data revealed that a total of £29.7 million was lost between January 1 and June 30 this year, meaning online shopping and auction fraud now represent two-thirds (65 per cent) of all consumer fraud reports in 2020. A lot of the cases appear to involve big-ticket items, with the average loss per case being £726.

One of the reasons behind the rise in this type of fraud is the increase in popularity of online shopping during lockdown. he Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows the total value of online shopping transactions increased by 33 per cent when compared to the same period in 2019, according to a press release from the company.

If the July data is anything to go by, the trend of increased consumer fraud may remain high and actually increase throughout the remainder of 2020. There were 9,090 reported cases of online shopping-related fraud in July 2020, 60 per cent more than the 5,680 reports in July 2019.

Similarly the total reported losses increased in July 2020 to £6.3 million, which is up £1.5 million (31 per cent increase) from July 2019. Finder.com also found that Google search interest in fraud has increased by 14.3 per cent since the beginning of July compared to the first six months of 2020.

Exactly 80 per cent of all online shopping fraud victims were under the age of 50, with those in their 20s being the most likely to be a victim of online shopping fraud. Reports from this age group accounted for 29 per cent of the total reports so far in 2020.

Regionally, London has the most incidences of online shopping fraud. The Metropolitan Police received 6,545 reports of online shopping fraud, which represents 16 per cent of all the UK’s online shopping fraud cases in the first half of 2020.

Following the capital were the West Midlands and Manchester, with both areas reporting 4 per cent of the country’s online shopping fraud.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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