Thurrock shoppers warned over on-line fraud

National Trading Standards

THERE are concerns that Brits could put themselves at risk of online fraud this Christmas

New research among shoppers has shown that more than two thirds of those surveyed leave out key safety checks when shopping online, prompting fears that shoppers could be putting themselves at risk of fraud this Christmas.

The research from National Trading Standards found that 68% of respondents tend to leave out at least one simple safety check when shopping online, such as looking for signs that the website is using a secure, encrypted connection, looking at the returns policy or searching for reviews of the seller.

Reasons for leaving out these vital checks included ‘being in a rush’ (24%) and ‘because I am looking for the cheapest offer’ (23%), with one in five people admitting that they don’t know what to look for (21%).

With most Brits planning to shop online for presents this festive season, National Trading Standards is advising people to take their time and do their research before pressing ‘purchase’.

Warning over social media purchases

Just under one in three people (28%) admitted to buying items from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram – or websites promoted through these platforms.

Purchasing products via social media sites is notoriously risky as they are awash with misleading advertising, counterfeit and unsafe products, subscription traps and many other scams. As part of its work to keep consumers safe online the National Trading Standards eCrime Team has helped remove 9,000 social media profiles and websites peddling counterfeit goods since 2015 and has been involved in over 100 investigations.

Stopping goods at national entry points

National Trading Standards is also working at key ports, airports and postal hubs to detain unsafe products destined to end up under the Christmas tree.

National Trading Standards is advising consumers to observe a Buy Safe Checklist including searching for reviews of the product or seller, looking at grammar and spelling on the website, seeing if the seller has a landline number, finding out where their head office is based and ensuring that the website has a secure connection. Consumers are also advised to report concerns to Citizen’s Advice consumer service.

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