Parents are being warned to watch out for fake deals being advertised online this Black Friday.
Research for the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign, run by banking and finance industry body UK Finance, indicates that more than a quarter (27%) of parents have been tricked by purchase scams.
A purchase scam happens when a person makes a payment for goods or services that never turn up.
Criminals often advertise tech such as phones or computers at low prices to attract buyers, persuading them to make bank transfers, then disappearing 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.
Only a quarter (26%) 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.
The report also indicated that 77% of authorised push payment (APP) scams start on online platforms.
Ben Donaldson, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said: “More and more criminals are using fake ads and websites to target their victims.
“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.”
OnePoll surveyed 2,000 parents of five to 30-year-olds across the UK in October for the research.
To help people stay safe, the Take Five To Stop Fraud campaign advice is to:
Stop – Take a moment before parting with your money or information.
Challenge – Could it be fake? It is OK to reject, refuse or ignore any requests.
Protect – Contact your bank immediately if you think you have been scammed and report it to Action Fraud.
Black Friday this year is on November 24.