The Metropolitan Police Service is launching a new campaign to raise awareness of online shopping fraud, a crime costing Londoners more than £8 million a year.
A series of digital banner advertisements are being run online, including on some of the biggest online auction sites, which prompt shoppers to think carefully before rushing to make any bank transfers outside of the safeguards of the official websites.
It is the first time the Met has run a campaign targeting shoppers online and it is being launched in response to a recent increase in online shopping fraud, which accounts for about 25 per cent of all reports of fraud in London.
In the last financial year, there were 6,879 reports of online shopping fraud in London, an increase of 946 – or 14 per cent – on the previous year.
The average loss to each victim is about £1,200, lower than other types of fraud. But the total loss to victims in London from online shopping fraud was £8.3 million in the last financial year.
The Met’s campaign aims to educate shoppers about some of the warning signs of online scammers and the messages are targeted to people who have recently searched for items, such as mobile phones and cars, which are commonly used by fraudulent sellers.