Research from Barclays, conducted in the UK, has identified that even during this difficult time for everyone worldwide, scammers are still trying to take advantage. In response to these ongoing scam and fraud attempts, Barclays has provided top tips on how islanders can protect themselves.
- Barclays data reveals 13% of purchase scams are related to coronavirus*.
- 43% of all scams have taken place via social media.
- The average loss for a purchase scam relating to coronavirus is £209.
- Other top purchase scam items include mobile phones, trainers and gaming consoles.
Barclays has identified consumers falling victim to coronavirus purchase scams that include hand sanitiser and face masks. An advert is typically appearing on social media with a ‘company’ asking for a deposit first, before full payment, which may seem low risk. The purchaser then sends the payment and we have seen customers not receiving the goods, and not hearing from the sellers again.
Barclays top tips
- Never follow a link in an unexpected email, text or social media post. Check the website is a genuine address by looking at the spelling in the URL.
- Be very wary of any item price that simply looks too good to be true or if they claim to have high levels of stock when everywhere else is sold out. If you’ve seen a picture of something, it doesn’t always mean the item exists.
- Do extra research on companies and sellers, especially when you’re buying for the first time. Try a number of different product or service review websites to gauge opinion on their quality, and avoid those with poor ratings.
- Use a computer, laptop or smartphone that’s protected with up-to-date security software. Always use secure ways to pay such as your credit card or PayPal, and only enter your card details on secure sites.
- Don’t pay via a funds transfer from your bank account, and especially not to someone or a company you’ve never met or heard of.
- Speak to family or friends for advice before making the purchase.
Justine Gaudion, Head of Local Markets at Barclays in Guernsey, said: “Many of us are at home are spending more time online using social media and browsing the internet. There is a risk people will be lured into purchasing items with a big discount or that are unavailable elsewhere. Don’t become a victim of these scams and always check who you’re purchasing from and do your research before making a payment.”