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Beware of fraud on online auction sites

Take extra care when shopping for gifts online for Christmas, say police. As consumers search online, fraudsters are seeing this as an opportunity to trick people with the promise of great deals and big cash savings, Action Fraud and City of London Police warn.

People are being defrauded on popular social media websites and online auction sites. Action Fraud says that it works with sales platforms including Gumtree to combat fraud and to issue protect advice to consumers.

Mobile phones have been the most common item that people tried to buy from fraudsters. Victims reported being hooked in with bargain deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, only for the phone to never actually arrive. Apple iPhones accounted for 74pc of all mobile phones purchased that turned out to be fraudulent. Electrical goods (including games consoles), household items, computers, clothing, and accessories also featured in many of the reports. Examples including Fingerling toys, UGG boots and Apple MacBooks were among the most popular items victims reported losing money to fraudsters on.

Detective Chief Supt Pete O’Doherty of City of London Police said: “Unfortunately, at what is an expensive time of year for many, the internet has provided fraudsters with a platform to lure people in with the promise of cheap deals. Our report shows that fraudsters will stop at nothing for financial gain during the festive period, which is why we are working hard together with our partners to highlight the threat and to prevent people from falling victim.

“To stop fraudsters in their tracks, be cautious of where and from whom you’re buying, especially if it is technology at a reduced price. Follow our simple advice so that your presents can be enjoyed by friends and family and not lost to fraudsters, and if you think you have been a victim of online shopping fraud, report it to us.”


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