A major bank has issued an urgent warning about online shopping scams ahead of the busy festive season.
TSB said it had seen a 35 per cent increase in online shopping fraud, which now accounts for more than half of all scam cases.
The bank said purchasing fraud, when fraudsters trick people into paying for goods and services that don’t exist, is driving cases of scams across the banking sector.
Banks are seeing more than 400 daily cases of online purchase fraud, having recorded 77,000 cases in the first six months of 2023 alone.
Out of pocket costs: TSB investigation shows consumers are losing £500 to online shopping fraud on social media platforms
TSB research also reveals that consumers, on average, lose £500 per case by falling victim to social media scams.
Facebook Martketplace is the largest driver of online shopping fraud, accounting for 77 percent of shopping scams originating on the platform.
Paul Davis, TSB’s fraud prevention director, warned people not to buy items through social media unless they have a secure payment system.
TSB has previously called on Facebook owner Meta to do more about scams on its platform.
In May, TSB called on Meta to do more to tackle fraud running rampant on its platforms, including Facebook and Whatsapp.
It revealed that scams taking place through Meta companies account for 80 percent of the bank’s fraud cases within its three main fraud categories.
This Is Money has also asked Meta to do more about the wild west of the Facebook marketplace and Meta’s inaction.
A Meta spokesperson, responding to the latest TSB figures, said: “With tens of millions of people using our apps daily in the UK, we recognize our important role in tackling the problem of online shopping scams throughout the industry and we have systems in place to block scams.
‘Facebook Marketplace is a local meet and collect service, so we don’t facilitate payments or shipping, but scammers take advantage of this by taking conversations off our platforms where we can’t enforce.
“We encourage our community to report scams immediately so we can take action, and we will continue to provide customers with knowledge to transact safely and avoid fraud on Marketplace.”
Purchase fraud on Instagram accounts accounts for 9 percent of cases, followed by Twitter (4 percent), Snapchat (3.5 percent) and eBay (2 percent).
TSB advises consumers to stick to trusted outlets with a secure payment platform such as eBay, Amazon, Vinted and Gumtree.
Paul Davis adds: ‘At this time of year, many of us look for a bargain on the internet.
‘But this can quickly go wrong when shopping on social media sites, which are rife with fraudulent ads for items that simply don’t exist.
‘During this busy shopping period, it really pays to follow responsible shopping sites that offer payment platforms.
“And don’t be easily blindsided by a deal you see on social media; if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
What are the most scammed items online?
Vehicles top TSB’s list of the most scammed items, accounting for 20 per cent of all online shopping fraud cases with an average loss of £955.
At the start of the year, our research revealed that vehicle fraud on social media had skyrocketed, including scammers specifically using VW T5 vans as bait.
Other victims of procurement fraud include those seeking tradesmen, tools and materials, losing £1,358 per case. This represents 6 percent of cases.
Tickets for events, including concerts and sports, are a common scam and account for 11 per cent of all cases, with an average loss of £193.
This is closely followed by shoes and trainers, accounting for 6 per cent of cases and causing consumers to lose £225.
Selling phones and devices is another common scam, making up 5 and 6 per cent of scams respectively, with an average loss of between £225 and £275.
TSB is also urging consumers to be wary of adverts selling pets, holidays, cosmetics, jewelery and watches, after these categories claimed a “significant” number of victims.
TOP TIPS TO AVOID BEING A VICTIM OF ONLINE SCAMS
Paul Davis offers his advice for the busiest commercial period of the year:
- Really worth it stick to reputable shopping sites that offer consumer protection and payment platforms to directly complete your transaction;
- Due to the alarmingly high rate of fraud on social media platforms, TSB actively encourages you to Avoid using social networking sites.including Facebook Marketplace, to purchase, unless you can meet the seller in person;
- Take your time and don’t let yourself be pressured by a seller;
- We all like a bargain, but question whether the offer is “too good to be true”;
- Use a card to pay – as card payments have the highest level of consumer protection if something goes wrong
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them, we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.