Jump in purchase scams being reported to Santander by its customers
Christmas shoppers are being warned to watch out for purchase scams, after a major bank has seen a jump in reports of such incidents.
Santander said reports of purchase scams increased nearly a quarter (23%) in November, compared with the number of reports in November 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed many people towards doing more of their shopping online.
Purchase scams happen when a criminal pretends to legitimately be selling an item, often with a fake advert online. However, the item is either a fake or never shows up.
Santander said past data indicates phones and games consoles are commonly used to entice customers into a purchase scam.
These items played a part in about one in six (16%) purchase scams reported to it in December 2019.
Clothing was also regularly used, with nearly one in 10 (8%) scams involving the purchase of an item to wear.
To avoid scams, Santander recommends using secure payment methods, questioning adverts that seem too good to be true and checking out independent reviews for websites.
And if someone is buying a “big ticket” high-value item they should try to see it in person before making any payment, the bank said.
Scams can be reported to Action Fraud, which recommends only typing in enough personal details to complete a purchase when shopping online.
Action Fraud recommends not creating an online account with a store if possible, although if someone thinks they will buy regularly from a particular online store they may want to set one up.
If someone is asked by a website if their payment details can be saved for a quicker checkout next time, Action Fraud recommends declining, unless the website is going to be used regularly.