Citizens Advice finds 160% rise in online marketplace scams

Citizens Advice has issued a warning for consumers shopping on online marketplaces after a 160 per cent surge in the number of cases of people being scammed on the platforms.

The network of consumer charities said 96 per cent of UK adults have bought something online since the country first went into lockdown in March.

With the extra time spent indoors to do tasks like clear out wardrobes or set up businesses, Citizens Advice said it had received a 28 per cent rise in inquiries in the last year from people asking for help about selling on online marketplaces such as Ebay, Etsy and Depop.

Mis-selling, failed deliveries and poor quality items were among the issues people brought up when they contacted the charity.

Citizens Advice has seen a 160 per cent increase in the number of cases of people being scammed on online marketplaces over the last year.

READ MORE: Black Friday scams to cost average victim £735 this year

“Now more than ever, people need to know how to use online marketplaces safely,” Citizens Advice senior consumer expert Kate Hobson said.

“These platforms are great for selling your pre-loved clothes to make some extra cash during these tough times, or supporting small businesses while doing your Christmas shopping. But, Citizens Advice has seen even the savviest of shoppers run into difficulties, so it’s important to shop-smart and know your rights, so you can take action if things don’t go to plan,” Hobson added.

The charity said buyers should always look into the seller’s shipping and contact details in order to check for fraudulent activity, and to only send and receive money through marketplace apps or marketplace websites.

Buyers are also warned to research and ask for authentication if buying a branded item, and that sellers must describe products for sale accurately.

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