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Barclays warns Scotland faces most fraudulent online Christmas ever

Posted: 17th November 2017

• Record levels of cybercrime and growth of festive e-commerce set to create unprecedented levels of fraud for Christmas 2017
• Almost two thirds (60 per cent) of Scots worry about their credit or debit card details being stolen whilst shopping online
• A third (36 per cent) of online shoppers in Scotland either don’t know, or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online
• The average online scam costs Edinburgh shoppers £394 compared to £331 for Glaswegians
• Festive fraud victims across the UK estimated to lose around £1.3bn¹ in total this year

This Christmas looks set to be one of the most fraudulent ever for online shoppers in Scotland, 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 almost two thirds (60 per cent) of Scots worry about their credit or debit card details being stolen, whilst a similar number (59 per cent) have concerns over their bank account being hacked whilst Christmas shopping online.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of online scams in the UK 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

Scots 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. A third (36 per cent) of online shoppers across Scotland told Barclays researchers they either don’t know, or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online.

A fifth of Scots (21 per cent) admitted to having fallen victim to an online scam or fraud. Of those, almost a third (31 per cent) were buying from a website that is well-known, and over a fifth (22 per cent) ordered from a website that they regularly purchase from, highlighting the need to be vigilant at all times.

A quarter (26 per cent) of fraud victims felt that it was just ‘bad luck’ that they were caught out, yet only 24 per cent were aware that they should check for the padlock authentication symbol on the payment page. Just one fifth (22 per cent) knew to ensure that the web address started with ‘https’.

With the average scam costing Edinburgh shoppers £394, over £60 more (£331) than their Glaswegian neighbours, Scots need to ensure they are aware of the warning signs if they don’t want to be out of pocket this Christmas.

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) UK 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.”


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.

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