Online shoppers urged to not be tempted into committing fraud when festive shopping

As shoppers across the UK look to bag themselves a bargain in the post-Christmas sales, Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud prevention service, is urging consumers to not be tempted by opportunities to commit fraud.

A recent survey carried out by Cifas found that over the last 12 months, 1 in 40 UK consumers admitted they had falsely claimed a refund for an online purchase by stating the item hadn’t been received. A further 1 in 10 consumers knew someone who had done this, making it one of the most prevalent forms of first-party fraud in the UK.

The survey also revealed that younger consumers were more likely to commit this type of fraud, with 1 in 9 shoppers under the age of 45 believing this was a reasonable thing to do. Worryingly, 1 in 3 under the age of 45 did not recognise this type of activity as illegal.

Retail fraud remains one of the most common types of fraudulent activity. Between 2018-2020 there were over 42,500 instances of UK consumers filed to the National Fraud database for misusing their online retail accounts for reasons including falsely claiming a refund.

Fraud costs the UK economy billions of pounds each year, and those found guilty of committing fraud could face penalties including being filed to the National Fraud Database, and in some cases, a prison sentence.

Amber Burridge, Head of Fraud Intelligence for Cifas, said: ‘With uncertainty caused by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and high levels of inflation, some households may be worried about their income over the next few months and are looking for easy ways to make money. Committing fraud should certainly not be viewed as a possible way to do this, and there are real consequences for people caught doing so.

‘Fraud is never a victimless crime. Online retailers suffer from high levels of fraud each year, and these losses are often passed onto us as consumers in higher prices for goods and delivery.’

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