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Christmas Fraud

New research undertaken by Development Economics has identified that fraud affecting online shopping is likely to cost UK householders £71 million in the 2017 Christmas shopping period. This is an increase of £12 million compared to the estimated £59 million of fraud suffered by customers in the Christmas period in 2016.

Christmas is a peak time for online fraudsters as millions of people go on line to buy presents for family and friends. Christmas shopping is a stressful time for many families, with people seeking to make stretched household budgets further by seeking online bargains or trying to track down this years’ most sought-after gift.

Online fraudsters know that this is a stressful time and that shoppers can be more vulnerable to being defrauded. A variety of scams are prevalent over the Christmas period, including the creation of bogus websites advertising counterfeit or poor-quality goods or items that simply don’t exist. Other seasonal scams include auction fraud – the advertising of counterfeit or non-existent items on auction websites – and ticketing fraud, where bogus websites offering fake tickets for concerts, sporting events and other special occasions.

The estimated cost of £71 million was calculated using the latest available online retail trends data and desk-based research of crime trends. The research also utilised a large scale bespoke household survey which explored current online shopping behaviour and people’s previous experiences of online fraud.