Lloyds Bank issues urgent warning of online scam | Personal Finance | Finance

Lloyds Bank has warned Britons to be wary of criminals increasingly exploiting online marketplaces to steal money through fake goods.

In a video issued about the latest scams in circulation, Lloyds said: “More and more people are getting caught out by fake listings on online marketplaces like Facebook. Especially for things like cars, tickets, and clothes.”

Explaining how people can avoid the scam, the Bank urged people to question whether the product on offer is too good to be true. It said: “Whether it’s for a sold-out gig or for a great price you can’t find elsewhere. It’s not a bargain if it never turns up.”

Another red flag is the urgency with which buyers are requested to pay for their items.

Lloyds explained: “Do you have to pay right away? Fraudsters will often say someone else is interested to pressure you into a quick sale.”

Another rule to check is whether the seller is genuine. Lloyds pointed out: “A seller may be recommended, have good reviews, pictures and followers, but it could all be fake.

“A genuine seller will be happy to meet you in person and let you pay in a way that protects your money.”

Once a buyer feels certain about these points, they can safeguard their money further by completing the transaction in person.

Lloyds Bank said: “Can you meet the seller in person? Use location filters to look for things available for local pick-up. This way, you can check an item before paying.”

Finally, the Bank urged: “Never pay by bank transfer. Always pay by debit or credit card to protect your money, or use a payment service that offers buyer protection.”

According to UK Finance’s latest fraud report, a substantial £1.17 billion was stolen last year, equating to £3.2 million every day. Additionally, there has been a 50 percent rise in the number of individuals affected by “authorised” payment scams between 2020 and 2023.

This underscores the importance of remaining vigilant online, as fraudsters become increasingly sophisticated in their deceptive tactics.

Commenting on the stats, Laura Suter, director of personal finance at AJ Bell, said: “Fraud has dropped from its pandemic highs, but £1.17billion was still stolen from the UK public last year – amounting to £3.2million every day.

“While total fraud figures have dropped, we’ve seen an increase in the amount stolen through ‘authorised’ scams, where people are tricked into sending the money themselves, since before the pandemic.

“Between 2020 and 2023 there was a nine percent increase in the amount of money stolen through authorised scams, but a huge 50 percent increase in the number of people being scammed this way. The figures highlight how scammers are targeting more victims for smaller amounts of money.”

Ms. Suter mentioned that it is “reassuring” that banks are more likely to compensate victims for their losses. Last year, victims were reimbursed 64p for every £1 stolen, an increase from 59p in the previous year.

However, she noted: “It still means that more than a third of money stolen is never recovered, and victims have to stomach these often life-changing losses.

“These figures all have to be taken with a pinch of salt – as we know that the official fraud stats are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true scale of fraud in the UK.

“So often people feel embarrassed or ashamed of being defrauded and therefore don’t report it, while others assume that nothing can be done to get their money back, so it goes unreported. Anyone who has been the victim of fraud should contact Action Fraud and their bank, as they may be able to get their money back.”

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