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Festive shoppers urged to be cyber-aware as figures reveal average online losses of £1,000

Festive shoppers urged to be cyber-aware as figures reveal average online losses of £1,000

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Cybersecurity and law enforcement partners have joined together to issue a warning ahead of Black Friday and Christmas sales.

Bargain hunters are being urged to bolster their cybersecurity in the approach to the festive season after new figures revealed victims of online shopping scams lost on average £1,000 per person in the same period last year.

Scams ranged from one shopper losing more than £150 trying to purchase a mobile phone on social media to another being duped out of more than £7,000 during an attempted online campervan purchase. Meanwhile, another victim lost almost £500 when trying to buy shoes on a social media platform and a fourth lost £145 trying to make a similar purchase.

The new figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) come as the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – which is a part of GCHQ – launched a nationwide drive to promote its Cyber Aware campaign to help shoppers protect themselves online.

The Cyber Aware campaign advises simple steps for shoppers to reduce their risk of suffering similar losses during this year’s Black Friday (November 25) and pre-Christmas period.

The figures, which come from reports made to Action Fraud and analysed by NFIB, showed that shoppers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were scammed out of £15.3 million between November 2021 and January 2022, and that the age group most likely to fall victim was 19-25-year-olds.

Alan Ryan, AVP, UK and Ireland at Imperva, commented on the news: “The warning from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) is a stark reminder that Black Friday will be a unique opportunity for cybercriminals to prey on consumers, by committing fraud and stealing shoppers’ personal data. Our own research shows that retailers are a major target of account takeover attacks – where cybercriminals take over legitimate users’ accounts for malicious purposes. In fact, almost a quarter (22.6%) of all logins on retail websites are the result of malicious account takeovers. With consumer trust already at an all-time low – and only a mere 5% trusting retailers with their most valuable and sensitive data – retailers must remain vigilant and put in steps to protect their customers’ data. Without this, retailers could lose consumer confidence and be in for a turbulent festive period – which could be make or break for many.”

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