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Barclays warns UK faces most fraudulent online Christmas ever

  • Record levels of cybercrime and growth of festive e-commerce set to create unprecedented levels of fraud for Christmas 2017

  • Festive fraud victims across the UK estimated to lose around £1.3bn1 in total this year

  • Almost four in ten (38 per cent) online shoppers either don’t know, or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online

     

London, 17 November 2017: This Christmas looks set to be the UK’s most fraudulent ever for online shoppers, according to new data from Barclays1. 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 £8932 – over twice the average Christmas budget for presents, food, drink and entertainment3 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 £72m4 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.”

Notes to editors

1 The research was carried out online by Opinium across a total of 2,006 nationally representative adults in September 2017. An additional survey was carried out across a total of 1,700 people who have been scammed, to supplement the national research.

 

2 This Barclays research showed that the average scam over the Christmas period costs victims an average £893. This number has been multiplied by the estimated amount of Brits who have already been targeted at Christmas (1.5 million).  

 

3 This Barclays research highlights that people plan to spend £422 on presents, food, drink and entertainment this Christmas

 

4 This Barclays research has been combined with retail sales trend data to derive an overall estimate of online sales that do not occur because of the fear of being defrauded.

 

This report marks the next phase of the bank’s £10 million commitment to helping people stay safe in cyber space, announced earlier this year. In addition, Barclays has launched a new digital safety advertising campaign, reminding everyone to look out for ways to keep themselves safe when shopping online this Christmas. The 30 second TV advertisement is available online at https://youtu.be/YhQzDafPSWI. Stills are available on request. For more details on how to stay safe online, visit https://www.barclays.co.uk/security/

 

Barclays top tips to stay safe online this Christmas:

  1. Look out for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar on retailers’ websites

    • One in eight (13 per cent) Brits say they will buy from a website without considering whether it is secure

  2. Watch out for deals that look too good to be true

  3. Never use public Wi-Fi to purchase Christmas shopping online

    • 13 per cent of shoppers say they will, despite fraudsters being able to use public Wi-Fi to intercept personal data and payment details

  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

    • Only a quarter (27 per cent) of Brits say they check their bank account regularly over the Christmas period; with men (31 per cent) being less vigilant than women (24 per cent).

    • One in ten (nine per cent) say this is because they don’t want to know what they are spending

 

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank with global reach, offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.home.barclays .