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Online fraudsters steal £17m over COVID-19 lockdown

About £17 million have been lost due to online fraud over the Coronavirus lockdown period with young shoppers being the most affected, as per Action Fraud.

According to the United Kingdom’s National Fraud and Cybercrime Reporting Center, online scams had trapped 16,352 victims with online shopping fraud since physical stores were closed on March 23.

That amounts to approximately £16.6 million in losses, with the largest number of victims (24%) between the age bracket of 18 to 26 and living in cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Bristol, and Nottingham.

In most of the cases, consumers bought items including cell phones (19%), vehicles (22%), electronics (10%) including gaming kit and laptops, and footwear (4%) but they never arrived. Fraudulent sellers were most likely to be found on eBay (18%), Facebook (18%), Gumtree (10%), and Depop (6%).

The Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, informed that the increase in the number of younger consumers falling victim frequently existed long before Coronavirus.

She stated, “It’s important to shop on sites you know and trust. If you’re using a site you’ve not used before, do your research and check reviews before making a purchase.”

Online shoppers should always be aware of emails, texts, and social media posts that provide products for a considerably lesser price than normal  – this is a common practice used by scammers. It is advised to use a credit card to make online purchases as this will offer you greater protection if anything goes wrong.