Shopping online has become more of the norm over the last year and the trend seems to be continuing ion the run up to Christmas. Lloyds Bank has calculated that around 3.6 million adults across the UK had been ripped off, based on findings from a survey of more than 2,000 people.

One in 14 (7%) people surveyed had been scammed during the pandemic, with men (9%) more likely to say they had been conned than women (6%), Lloyds found.

While we have all ben struggling through the pandemic, criminals have seized upon the crisis as a new opportunity, conning people in a variety of ways. By going door-to-door, sending out bogus texts related to coronavirus and cold calling people while they work from home. There have also been concerns about online cons such as romance scams.

When we have been feeling lonely or depressed during isolation, that too may play a part in the Covid Cons being successful.

Paul Davis is the Retail Fraud Director at Lloyds Bank, he told us……

“Fraudsters are always inventing convincing stories and can easily pretend to be someone else and even make their number look like they are calling from your bank or another company. If you’re unsure, always hang up.”

We’ve been speaking to Paul and Mike Hayley CEO of CIFAS, who are the UK’s largest cross-sector fraud prevention company. They have plenty of advice on how to stay safe online.

Some said a lack of contact had led to them letting down their guard – with 18 to 24-year-olds being the most likely to talk to strangers as a result of limited contact.

They were also the age group most likely to say they had been scammed during the pandemic, with one in six (15%) saying they had been victims of fraud.

Worryingly, nearly one in 10 (8%) of us said we would give someone our personal details if they sounded trustworthy.

The CIFAS website is packed with information on how to stay safe, whether you’re an individual or business.

They say, it’s important that during these times we remain vigilant about protecting ourselves and others from frauds, scams and misinformation.

Always take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or your personal information.

Remember to challenge – could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

If you think you have fallen for a scam contact your bank or financial service provider immediately and report to Action Fraud. The following advice will help you to identify potential scams or frauds and avoid becoming a victim.

In the run up to Christmas, fraudsters are targeting in-demand products such as the latest PlayStation 5 iPhone 12, as well as fake fashion items and fake puppy listings. CIFAS is advising shoppers to…….

  • Be suspicious of any “too good to be true” offers or prices.
  • Use the secure payment method recommended by reputable online retailers and auction sites.
  • Purchase items made by a major brand from the list of authorised sellers listed on their official website.
  • Buy a pet directly from a breeder or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead.
  • Anyone who believes they have fallen for a scam can report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Lloyds Bank tell us – If you paid by credit or debit card there are card protections. Ask your bank if you are eligible to claim using chargeback or Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

When using PayPal, your money should be protected by its buyer protection policy.

  • Report the advert to the platform you saw it on. Major social media platforms and search engines allow you to flag scam adverts using a “report” button or form.
  • If you have lost money or personal details to a scam, report it to Action Fraud.
  • You can also report fake or misleading adverts to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).