Samantha Hancock (Police, Crime Prevention Unit Manager, Nottinghamshire) writes: Last Christmas individuals and businesses reported losing £16,426,989 to online fraudsters through online shopping and auction fraud. This is a 42% increase in total financial loss compared with the 2013 festive period where £9,522,491 was lost by victims.
Last year’s report shows that the most common time for victims to initially make contact with the fraudster was on 28 November- Black Friday (221 victims) and 1 December – Cyber Monday (205 victims), as people head online to try and bag the best festive bargains out there. This serves as a warning to consumers to be extra vigilant on these key Christmas shopping days as online fraudsters are watching and waiting to capitalise on the biggest shopping frenzies of the year.
The most common item being bought and sold by victims and fraudsters were mobile phones. People reported trying to get good deals on some of the most popular models of smart phones, but what they thought was going to be a bargain never actually arrived leaving them without presents to give on Christmas day. Others reported being defrauded whilst trying to buy footwear, clothing, watches, gaming consoles, computers, furniture and home electricals.
Action Fraud and Get Safe Online have launched a national fraud prevention campaign which will be supported by police forces across the country.
The aim is to provide practical fraud and cyber crime protection tips which aim to prevent people from getting conned out of the Christmas that they deserve.
Nottinghamshire Police will be supporting this campaign via social media and sending advice out via Nottinghamshire Alert
 Figures in the above release refer to Online Shopping and Auction Fraud reports made to Action Fraud during the Christmas period (1 November 2014- 28 February 2015). The month of January and February 2015 have been included to account for any delays in reporting incidences.
Online Shopping Advice
Christmas is one of the most common times to get defrauded online
• 20 factors you should check on a website before you enter your card details. Click here for a great interactive tour to learn more! http://www.buyagift.co.uk/Content/design/infographics/howtotrustawebsite/how-to-trust-a-website.html
• Always check payment pages are secure and log out when you’ve finished shopping online
Visit GetSafeOnline for more information https://www.getsafeonline.org/shopping-banking/online-payments/
• Before buying on auction sites always check whether the seller or buyer is genuine – check their feedback and selling history before you commit to buying – and make sure that the offer isn’t too good to be true!
• People were defrauded most last year when trying to buy mobile phones. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
• Find out more about auction fraud http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-auction-fraud Make sure you don’t fall victim to a Christmas Con!
• Tickets can be a great gift – make sure you don’t end up buying fake ones! Ticket fraudsters don’t care if it’s Christmas. Always make sure you buy the tickets from official sellers Click here for more information on how to avoid ticket fraud http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud-az-ticket-scam
• Find out what happened when these fraudsters tried to sell fake #LiverpoolFC tickets http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/five-men-on-trial-over-liverpool-fc-ticket-scam-oct15
Source: Broxtowe Community email.