Fashion-conscious Brits should be on the lookout for fake adverts claiming to offer designer trainers, with a surge in scams cases reported so far this year, according to Lloyds Bank.
Purchase scams occur when someone is tricked into sending money via bank transfer (also known as a Faster Payment) to buy goods or services - often advertised online or via social media - that don’t exist.
Fraudsters are always looking for the next trend they can exploit to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash. While they’ll typically advertise goods at well below their recommended retail price to tempt consumers, when items are scarce or in high demand, they can cash in on desperate buyers willing to pay much more.
Shoes and trainers now the most commonly scammed goods
Reports of purchase scams involving shoes and trainers have more than doubled so far this year, soaring by a massive 112% compared to the same period last year, with victims losing £152 on average.
While fraudsters will advertise any brand they think might snare an unsuspecting victim, analysis of reported cases shows that Nike is one of the most common labels currently being used to promote this type of scam.
Event tickets and electrical goods – scams on the rise
Another item that’s seen an explosion in reported purchase scams this year is tickets, as fraudsters exploit people’s renewed desire to attend live events following the easing of Covid restrictions.
While the overall number of ticket scams being reported is lower than some other items, the number of cases being reported has rocketed by a massive 603% already this year. The average amount lost is £251, with football matches and concerts the events most likely to appear in fake adverts.
The number of purchase scams involving electrical goods is also up by over a third already this year, with £174 the average amount lost. Dyson Airwraps are amongst the most common items being reported in this category at the moment.
Top 10 most common purchase scams reported so far this year
Dogs and games consoles – fraudsters changing tactics
Certain other items which saw a spike in reported scams during the pandemic, such as puppies and games consoles, have seen the number of cases fall quite sharply this year.
This could reflect a change in tactics by fraudsters, as with people’s lifestyles and routines getting back to normal, demand for certain items may now be falling.
How to stay safe when shopping online
Many consumers remain unaware that bank transfers were not designed as a way of paying for goods and services online, and therefore offer little protection if something goes wrong.
Buyers who pay by credit card or debit card benefit from the well-established Section 75 and Chargeback rules which have been protecting customers for decades.
Liz Ziegler, Retail Fraud & Financial Crime Director, Lloyds Bank, said: “Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash, and with designer trainers amongst the latest must-have items being targeted, the criminals are ready to hotfoot it away as soon as they have their hands on your money.
“Purchase scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that don’t exist.
“When shopping online, the best way to keep safe is to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible, and always pay by card for the greatest protection. If you’re unable to do those things, that should be a big red flag that you’re about to get scammed.”