Barclays warns that Northern Ireland faces most fraudulent online Christmas ever

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  • This Christmas looks set to be the most fraudulent ever for online shoppers in Northern Ireland, according to new data from Barclays.

    With fraud and scams becoming increasingly sophisticated, and with record numbers getting ready to do their Christmas shopping online, Barclays is warning of a perfect storm for seasonal online theft.

    In fact, the research found that more than a quarter (31 percent) of people in Northern Ireland have already been scammed in previous years whilst Christmas shopping online. Across the UK, festive fraud victims are estimated to lose around £1.3bn in total.

    Christmas is coming early for fraudsters taking advantage of low cybercrime awareness and lack of confidence

    Local people are in danger of losing the war with fraudsters this Christmas because they don’t know how to protect their data and stay safe online. Almost half (44 percent) of online shoppers in Northern Ireland told Barclays researchers they either don’t know or aren’t sure, how to identify a secure website when shopping online.

    As a result, of those who had fallen victim to online fraud, only a fifth (19 percent) said they check for the padlock authentication symbol in the address bar on the payment page, with even less checking that the web address started with ‘https’ (16 percent).

    On top of that, only a slim majority in Northern Ireland (61 percent) said they feel confident about their online security around the Christmas period. This is a noticeable overall drop in confidence compared to other times of the year when 77 percent say they feel secure when shopping online.

    Top tips to stay safe online this Christmas

    As record numbers of gift buyers get set to purchase online, the #BarclaysDigiSafe team has provided the following tips to avoid being fleeced by festive fraudsters:

    1. Look out for the padlock symbol and ‘https’ in the address bar on retailers’ websites
    2. Watch out for deals that look too good to be true
    3. Never use public Wi-Fi to purchase Christmas shopping online
    4. Never give out your PIN or online banking password – legitimate websites won’t ask for it.
    5. Keep an eye on your bank balance so that you can spot and report fraudulent transactions quickly

    Fear of fraud hits online businesses hardest

    UK Shoppers aren’t the only ones being stung by festive fraudsters. With one in 20 (5 percent) shoppers who have fallen victim to a scam stopping shopping online altogether, online retailers across the UK could be losing out on up to £72m worth of lost revenue.

    Joanna McArdle, Relationship Director, Barclays Northern Ireland, said:

    “Whilst families in Northern Ireland are preparing to enjoy the festive season, criminals are ready to pounce on anyone who lets their guard down. Buying gifts online may be more convenient than heading to the shops, but with Christmas 2017 set to be the most fraudulent on record, online shoppers must be more vigilant than ever. Beat the fraudsters by looking out for the typical warning signs such as the padlock symbol on retailers’ websites.”

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