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Barclays Warns UK Faces Most Fraudulent Online Christmas Ever

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This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays. With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.

The research found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of online scams happen over the Christmas period, costing victims on average £893 – over twice the average Christmas budget for presents, food, drink and entertainment and equating to an eye-watering £1.3bn across the country.

Christmas is coming early for fraudsters taking advantage of low cybercrime awareness and lack of confidence

Brits are in danger of losing the war with fraudsters this Christmas, because they don’t know how to protect their data and stay safe online. Almost four in ten (38 per cent) online shoppers told Barclays researchers they either don’t know, or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online.

As a result, of those people who had fallen victim to online fraud, less than a quarter (23 per cent) said they check for the padlock authentication symbol in the address bar on the payment page, with the same number checking that the web address started with ‘https’.

On top of that, only a slim majority (58 per cent) said they feel confident about their online security around the Christmas period. This is a noticeable overall drop in confidence compared to other times of the year, when 78 per cent say they feel secure when shopping online.

Top tips to stay safe online this Christmas

As record numbers of gift buyers get set to purchase online, the #BarclaysDigiSafe team has provided the following tips to avoid being fleeced by festive fraudsters:

  1. Look out for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar on retailers’ websites
  2. Watch out for deals that look too good to be true
  3. Never use public Wi-Fi to purchase Christmas shopping online
  4. Never give out your PIN or online banking password – legitimate websites won’t ask for it.
  5. Keep an eye on your bank balance so that you can spot and report fraudulent transactions quickly

Fear of fraud hits online businesses hardest

Shoppers aren’t the only ones being stung by festive fraudsters. With one in 20 (5 per cent) shoppers who have fallen victim to a scam stopping shopping online altogether, online retailers could be losing out on up to £72m worth of lost revenue.

Samantha White, who leads Barclays’ work to keep customers safe from fraudsters, said:

“While families across the UK are preparing to enjoy the festive season, criminals are getting ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down. Buying your gifts online may be more convenient, but with Christmas 2017 set to be the most fraudulent on record, online shoppers must be more vigilant than ever. Beat the fraudsters by looking out for the typical warning signs such as the padlock symbol on retailers’ websites.”