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Home > Market Matters  > Cyber awareness month: Online shopping fraud

In the fourth week of our cyBEr SECURE series, we explore how cybercriminals have developed sophisticated techniques to commit shopping fraud.

While we’ve benefited from technology that allows us to shop online and transfer money with the push of a button, cybercriminals have developed sophisticated techniques to exploit it.

One in four people have been victims of fraud when shopping online with 8% of consumers being duped more than once1. Last year Action Fraud clocked a total of 42,949 incidents of online shopping fraud with a total loss of £58million2. Although many online shoppers have learnt to avoid fake websites, scammers have learnt how to easily clone webpages and disguise web addresses. According to IP Crime Group, they suspended over 16,632 domains for criminal activity between 2017-20183. Although the number of fake websites are declining, hackers are finding more advanced ways of deceiving customers.

Often the issue with online shopping fraud centres around a lack of consumer knowledge. Education surrounding the tell tail signs is one-way consumers can identify an illegal website. Pay attention to the URL bar at the top of a webpage displays the vital information needed to identify if the site is felonious.

Be wary of additions in the URL that look unnatural. Inserted words or phrases without spaces before the domain name that look fictitious normally are. Something else to look out for is the padlock symbol displayed before the URL. Make certain websites have these to ensure security when shopping online. 

We asked expert Dr Mark Hawksworth, Global Technology Specialist Practice Group Leader at Sedgwick International UK about what he believes are the most popular trends in online shopping fraud are:

‘Millions of UK consumers now shop online, not only is it quick and convenient, but it can also offer competitive deals compared to the high street. Fraudsters are increasingly using the internet to steal money, but by following some simple precautions people can reduce their exposure to online shopping fraud. Popular forms of shopping fraud include fake websites, online auction scams, weight loss or medicine scams and ticket scams.’

UK General Insurance offers cover for online shopping fraud as part of our personal cyber protection insurance. The cover benefits from reimbursement of transaction losses obtained when a person has been dishonestly induced to complete a transaction by a third party through electronic means of purchasing goods or services.

If you’re interested to know more about what our online shopping fraud covers, get in touch today. Email or call 0370 421 4503.


Please note the above is marketing material. 

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