An urgent warning has been issued to parents to avoid getting caught out by fake Black Friday deals.
Parents across the UK might be looking to secure a bargain for their children ahead of Christmas – but online scams are rife.
The amount of money lost by people being conned on the internet has risen to £41million in the first half of 2023.
According to research by UK finance, more than 27% of parents have been swindled by paying for goods or services that never arrive.
Criminals often advertise tech such as phones or computers at low prices to attract buyers, persuade them to make bank transfers and then disappear once the payment is made.
They may do this either through fake websites or fake ads on social media, as well as through auction websites.
‘More and more criminals are using fake ads and websites to target their victims,’ said Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance.
‘And particularly at this time of year, too many parents who are trying to bring joy to their children are falling victim to these ruthless crimes.
‘The consequences go beyond financial, because the deception involved can cause real emotional and psychological damage.
‘So, this Black Friday, when you’re searching for gifts for your children and loved ones, take extra care online.
‘Check sellers thoroughly before buying and make sure you follow the Take Five to Stop Fraud advice – stop, challenge, protect.’
Black Friday falls on November 24 this year.
Research showed that only a quarter of parents surveyed said they always research sellers before they buy.
UK Finance’s recent half-year fraud report found that purchase scams are the most common kind of authorised fraud, accounting for two-thirds of cases.
The volume of purchase scam cases has grown by 43%, from 53,907 in the first half of 2022, to 76,946 in the first half of 2023.
The amount stolen from victims in this period also rose by 31% to £40.9 million.
Data also indicated that 77% of authorised push payment (APP) scams start on online platforms.
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