CAUTION: Buying presents online may make Christmas shopping less stressful but fraud bosses say be careful
BLACK AND ethnic (BME) consumers are being urged to be aware of online fraudsters as the Christmas season approaches.
BME consumers are expected to form a significant part of the number of shoppers who will spend £4.6 billion online this December. But according to bosses at Action Fraud, Christmas is a prime opportunity for fraudsters waiting to relieve customers of their hard-earned cash.
They are urging consumers to think about security, especially when using unfamiliar websites offering deals that appear too good to be true.
Stephen Proffitt, head of Action Fraud, said: “We want online shoppers to be vigilant at all times, but especially in the run-up to Christmas. More people than ever are expected to shop for their presents online and we don’t want them to be victims of fraud.”
Profitt pointed out that “in the last 12 months Action Fraud has seen a 37 percent increase in reports of online shopping and auction fraud. Even experienced computer users should think about their safety and security online. Ensure your computer has up-to-date virus software and consider using a separate card for online shopping. Always safeguard your personal details, especially passwords and PIN numbers.”
According to recent statistics from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), a trade and professional body for UK based media industry agencies, the spending power of Britain’s black community is now worth an estimated £300 billion, a figure set to grow given the UK’s growing and upwardly mobile African population.
The IPA report points out that black and minority ethnic consumers are keener to buy and use new technology.
Other experts have pointed out that this growing purchasing power, combined with the willingness of BME consumers to use new technology, means they are more willing to buy products online.
Director of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), Detective Superintendent Dave Clark, said: “People planning for the festive period are increasingly choosing to do their Christmas shopping from the comfort of their own home.
“But behind the flashy websites and great deals can lie a heartless fraudster ready to take away what you had planned to give and share with friends and family.”
He advised: “To stop the criminals ruining your Christmas be careful when shopping online. Always check the sites legitimacy and make sure it has a secure payment facility.
It may feel like a pain at the time but it could make the difference between putting your presents under the tree and sitting there on the big day with nothing to give.”