Shoppers being duped by fake sellers all year round, Nationwide warns
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Nearly half of all scams reported to Nationwide during the summer involved shoppers being tricked into buying fake or non-existent products, the building society has said.
Far from being limited to the festive season and Black Friday sales, people are falling victim to fake sellers throughout the year, according to new data.
Between July and September, purchase scams made up 45% of all scams reported to the building society.
The scam happens when consumers are tricked into buying an item they think is from a legitimate seller, but it does not exist and never arrives.
It is a type of authorised push payment (APP) fraud, which happens whenever a person is manipulated into transferring money to fraudsters.
The average claim per purchase scam case was about £556 across the 13 months to October, Nationwide said.
The average amount jumps to £613 in October this year.
There were more than 1,000 cases recorded each month between June and August, with scams peaking during the summer.
Criminals will work non-stop trying to target consumers making purchases, whether that’s holidays, concert or sporting tickets, birthday and Christmas presents
Jim Winters, Nationwide’s director of economic crime, said: “Purchase scams are the most common type and anyone can fall for them.
“People may assume that the Black Friday and festive periods are when most purchase scams occur, but our data shows that this isn’t the case, they happen across the entire year.
“Criminals will work non-stop trying to target consumers making purchases, whether that’s holidays, concert or sporting tickets, birthday and Christmas presents.”
Mr Winters said he urges people to stay vigilant when shopping online, such as by researching websites before buying online or being wary of heavily discounted prices.
Nationwide customers can call or go into a branch to speak to staff if they are concerned about a purchase they are about to make from their current account.
Unless they are told not to make the payment, the customer will be fully reimbursed if it turns out to be a scam.
Consumers may not be reimbursed if a fraudulent payment was authorised without being checked beforehand.