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The force is with fraudsters this Christmas as Barclays warns that ‘perfect present pressure’ puts Brits at risk

  • Two thirds (65 per cent) of parents would use unfamiliar sites to get the most in-demand toys
  • Lego Star Wars BB8 is the most in-demand present for children this Christmas (16 per cent), followed by the Paw Patrol Sea Patroller (13 per cent)

  • More than two thirds (69 per cent) of Brits feel under pressure when buying Christmas presents for friends and family

  • Almost half (48 per cent) of scam victims were targeted when buying for someone else

London, 1 December 2017: Christmas gift giving pressure is causing Brits to drop their guard and increasing their chance of being targeted by seasonal online scams, according to new data from Barclays1.

A new study has found that two thirds (65 per cent) of parents would use an unfamiliar site to find the must have toys of the year, with 16 per cent saying that the Lego Star Wars BB8 is the most in-demand present for children this Christmas. The Paw Patrol Sea Patroller (13 per cent) and LOL BIG Surprise Doll (12 per cent) follow close behind on their children’s wish lists.


Across the UK, almost seven in ten (69 per cent) Brits say they feel under pressure when buying gifts for their loved ones at Christmas, with one in five (22 per cent) of these shoppers admitting to ‘panic buying’ presents as a result. A similar proportion (20 per cent) visit websites they wouldn’t normally buy from in order to find the right gift.


This stress and panic creates the ideal opportunity for fraudsters to strike; one in five (19 per cent) gift givers would be willing to register and save their personal details on an unfamiliar website, while one in 10 (10 per cent) would pay via bank transfer to someone they didn’t know in pursuit of the perfect present.


Don’t let the fraudsters win


With one in three (33 per cent) Brits considering present buying to be one of the most stressful aspects of the festive season, second only to battling crowded shopping centres and busy high streets (39 per cent), it’s important that online safety is not overlooked.


Worryingly, just six per cent identified the possibility of buying from a fraudulent website as a festive stress trigger, despite the fact that the average victim loses £893. Instead, people are more than three times as likely to worry about seasonal overspending (20 per cent), with one in four (26 per cent) resorting to buying their loved one’s gift from whichever website offers the cheapest price to save on cost.


‘Tis the season to be wary


With more than a quarter (26 per cent) of scam victims having been scammed over the Christmas period, Barclays is warning everyone to stay vigilant when shopping online this December. Almost half (48 per cent) of former victims of online scams were buying for someone else when they were targeted, with one in seven (14 per cent) admitting to being more preoccupied with finding the right gift than checking the legitimacy of the website.


Clothing topped the list of gifts most likely to get you scammed, affecting 17 per cent of former fraud victims. Electronics (16 per cent) took second place, with health and beauty products (8 per cent) and digital content such as movies, music and computer games (8 per cent) sharing joint third place.


This coincides with some of the most popular gifts on Christmas shoppers’ lists. Clothing, beauty products and jewellery topped the list of items to buy a spouse or partner, games and electronics took the top spot for sons, clothing and electronics for daughters, and food and drink was the most popular choice for dads.


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

“Scouring the internet for the perfect Christmas gift can be stressful, but if you lose sight of digital safety and just focus on the price, you could fall prey to festive fraudsters. Look out for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals, and always take the time to check that the website you’re buying from is legitimate.”

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. Moreover, a survey of 369 UK parents with primary school children was carried out between 24th and 27th September 2017.


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 Stills are available on request. For more details on how to stay safe online, visit



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 .