40,000 people have fallen victim to online shopping fraud this year

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Online shopping fraud has skyrocketed during the pandemic as more than 40,000 people fell victim within the first half of 2020.

According to new data from Finder.com online shopping and auction fraud jumped 37 per cent between January and June, seeing more than £29.7 million lost to scammers.

Around 40,900 cases of online fraud, which involves customers purchasing items online which they never receive, were reported to Action Fraud representing 65 per cent of all reported consumer fraud cases.

The data, which was acquired via a freedom of information request, also suggests most of these cases were for big ticket items with the average loss per case topping £700.

Surprisingly digital natives seem to be hardest hit by scammers, with those in their 20s most likely to fall victim to online fraud, representing 29 per cent of cases.

READ MORE: Amazon and Alibaba team up with US law enforcement to tackle sharp rise in COVID-19 fraud

A whopping 80 per cent of victims were also under the age of 50.

“Unfortunately, it was always likely that the increase in online shopping would mean more people falling victim to scams,” Finder.com chief executive Jon Ostler said.

“Although they can be hard to spot, there are a few things you can do to avoid being scammed when shopping online.

“If you can, avoid paying for goods by bank transfers as they are harder to recover. Similarly, if you are paying online through a website make sure that it is secure. If you can see a lock icon on the left hand side of the url bar, this means the website is secure.

“If you want to be extra careful, using a credit card or an online payment platform like PayPal which offer additional protection.”

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