Quarter of online shoppers ‘more concerned about potential bargains than scams’


One in four online shoppers are more concerned about getting a potential bargain than the risk of being scammed, a survey has found.

Some 25% of people believe bagging the cheapest bargain is the most important aspect of shopping online, above maintaining personal security, according to Nationwide Building Society.

The desire to get goods at rock-bottom prices, regardless of whether it could be a scam, appears to be particularly strong among younger people, with 35% of 16 to 24 year olds and 31% of those aged between 25 and 34 saying that bagging a bargain takes priority.

More than two in five (44%) people surveyed would risk buying something on a website or from a company that they have never heard of if it meant potentially getting a good deal.

Men are more likely to buy from an unknown website with around half (49%) saying this compared with 40% of women.

Shoppers were fairly evenly split when asked whether they worry about being scammed when buying online – 52% do and 48% do not.

Despite their eagerness to grab a bargain, it is younger people who worry more with 57% of 16 to 24 year olds and 61% of 25 to 34 year olds worrying, compared with 43% of people aged 55 and over.

Stuart Skinner, Nationwide’s economic crime director, said: “Anyone, young and old, can become a victim of a purchase scam because they can occur on any type of purchase, so it’s worrying to see from our research that some people prefer to bag a bargain rather than protect themselves from being a victim of a scam.”

He added: “It’s important to do your research before making that purchase and remember the adage that if it appears too good to be true then it often is.

“Straying from traditional shopping sites can bring additional risk, particularly when using social media.”

More than 2,000 online shoppers were surveyed in November.

Here are some tips from Nationwide to help avoid an online shopping scam:

– Search for the padlock icon in the browser search bar and do your research if you are unfamiliar with a website and check its contact details. There may also be independent reviews left online by other shoppers.

– How you pay can give you added protections: You may be able to claim your money back by using “chargeback” on debit cards or credit cards. For credit cards, you could also claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act which covers purchases of over £100.

– If possible, do not hand over money until the goods arrive.

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