According to a major bank, reports of purchase scams involving sneakers and shoes have more than doubled so far this year compared to the previous year. Lloyds Bank said the volume of such customer reports soared 112% this year on the previous year, with victims losing an average of £152.
The figures are based on analysis of shopping scams reported by Lloyds Banking Group customers between January 2022 and April 2022, with comparisons made to data from the same period last year. Purchasing scams involve people being tricked into transferring money for goods or services, often advertised online or through social media, which may not exist or are of poor quality or fake.
Sneaker and shoe scams are the most commonly reported type of shopping scam that Lloyds said it has seen. While scammers will advertise any brand they believe could trick an unsuspecting victim, Lloyds said analysis of reported cases has shown Nike to be among the popular brands that merchandise scammers can falsely claim sale.
Ticket scams had also exploded this year as people were eager to attend events following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. While the total number of reported ticket scams was lower than some other items, the number of reported cases had already soared 603% this year, Lloyds said. The average amount lost was £251, with football matches and concerts being the events most likely to appear in fake adverts.
The number of purchase scams involving electrical appliances has also risen by more than a third so far this year, with an average loss of £174. Lloyds said the Dyson Airwrap styling tool was among the most common items reported in this category at the moment.
Some other purchase scams that rose earlier in the pandemic, such as puppies and game consoles, have declined this year, the bank said. This could reflect a change in tactics by fraudsters, as with the readjustment of people’s post-lockdown lifestyles and routines, demand could now drop.
Liz Ziegler, director of retail fraud and financial crime, Lloyds Bank, said: “Fraudsters are always looking for new ways to cheat victims with their hard-earned money, and with designer trainers among the latest must-have items targeted, criminals are ready to get away as soon as they get their hands on your money. Shopping scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s too easy for scammers to use fake profiles and advertise items that do not exist.
“When shopping online, the best way to stay safe is to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible and always pay by card for the best protection. If you are unable to doing these things should be a big red flag that you are about to get scammed.
Here are the most common purchase scams reported to Lloyds Banking Group this year so far, the increase or decrease in the volume of reports compared to the previous year and the average amount lost:
1. Trainers and Shoes, 112%, £152
2. Vehicles and parts, 31%, £1,506
3. Phones and accessories, 23% off, £229
4. Clothes and fashion, 35%, £166
5. Game consoles, 64% off, £192
6. Event tickets, 603%, £251
7. Holidays and travel, 15%, £798
8. Puppies and dogs, 64% off, £312
9. Electronics, 37%, £174
10. Household furniture, 14%, £344
Here are Lloyds’ tips for staying safe from shopping scams:
– Using your debit or credit card when shopping online can help protect your money in case something goes wrong.
– Fraudsters often use social networks to post fraudulent offers. They can even send them straight to your inbox. Always search for offers yourself.
– Check any offer sent by SMS or email to make sure it is genuine. Call the sender to find out using a trusted number, not necessarily the one in the message, or visit the website to verify. Never click on a link without checking first.
– Low prices and bargains can hide scams. See if you can find them elsewhere. And remember, if an item sells, scammers may charge more to fool desperate buyers.
– Make sure a seller or website is genuine. Look for good reviews from different buyers. Beware of mixed, bad or non-existent reviews.
– Ask questions before buying. If an item is expensive, offer to pay a deposit. If a seller can’t provide details about an item or tries to rush you to pay, it could be a scam.
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