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

Posted: 1st December 2017

• Two thirds (65 per cent) of parents in the UK 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)
• Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of Scots feel under pressure when buying Christmas presents for friends and family
• More than half (61 per cent) of scam victims in Scotland were targeted when buying for someone else

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 UK 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.

In Scotland, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents say they feel under pressure when buying gifts for their loved ones at Christmas, with one in five (20 per cent) of these shoppers admitting to ‘panic buying’ presents as a result. A similar proportion (21 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 (20 per cent) Scottish gift givers would be willing to register and save their personal details on an unfamiliar website, while 14 per cent would buy from a website without thinking whether their payment is secure in pursuit of the perfect present.

Don’t let the fraudsters win

With nearly one in three (29 per cent) Scots 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 (47 per cent), it’s important that online safety is not overlooked.

Worryingly, just four per cent of Scots shoppers identified the possibility of buying from a fraudulent website as a festive stress trigger, despite the fact that the average victim in the UK loses £893. Instead, people are nearly six times as likely to worry about seasonal overspending (23 per cent), with one in four (31 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 almost a fifth (17 per cent) of Scottish scam victims having been scammed over the Christmas period, Barclays is warning everyone to stay vigilant when shopping online this December. More than half (61 per cent) of former victims of online scams were buying for someone else when they were targeted, with one in seven (15 per cent) admitting to being more preoccupied with finding the right gift than checking the legitimacy of the website.

In Scotland, clothing topped the list of gifts most likely to get you scammed, affecting 18 per cent of former fraud victims. Electronics (14 per cent) took second place, with health and beauty products (8 per cent), household items (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 Scottish Christmas shoppers’ lists. Clothing, beauty products and jewellery topped the list of items to buy a spouse or partner, games and clothing took the top spot for sons, clothing and health and beauty products 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.”

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.

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