Reports of purchase scams involving trainers and shoes have more than doubled so far this year compared with a year earlier, according to a major bank.
Lloyds Bank said the volume of these reports made by customers had soared by 112% this year so far compared with a year earlier, with victims losing £152 on average.
The figures were based on analysis of purchase scams reported by Lloyds Banking Group customers between January 2022 and April 2022, with comparisons made with data from the same period last year.
Purchase scams involve people being tricked into transferring money for goods or services, often advertised online or via social media, that may not exist or are shoddy or fake.
Trainers and shoe scams are the most commonly reported type of purchase scam that Lloyds said it was seeing.
While fraudsters will advertise any brand they think might snare an unsuspecting victim, Lloyds said analysis of reported cases showed that Nike was among the popular brands whose merchandise scammers may falsely claim to be selling.
Tickets scams had also exploded this year, as people were keen to attend events following the easing of Covid-19-related restrictions.
While the overall number of ticket scams being reported was lower than some other items, the number of cases being reported had rocketed by 603% already this year, Lloyds said.
The average amount lost was £251, with football matches and concerts the events most likely to appear in fake adverts.
The number of purchase scams involving electrical goods was also up by over a third so far this year, with £174 the average amount lost.
Lloyds said the Dyson Airwrap hairstyling tool was among the most common items being reported in this category at the moment.
Some other purchase scams which spiked earlier on in the pandemic, such as puppies and games consoles, had dropped off this year, the bank said.
This could reflect a change in tactics by fraudsters, as with people’s lifestyles and routines readjusting after lockdown, demand may now be falling.
Liz Ziegler, retail fraud and financial crime director, Lloyds Bank, said: “Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to trick victims out of their hard-earned cash, and with designer trainers amongst the latest must-have items being targeted, the criminals are ready to hotfoot it away as soon as they have their hands on your money.
“Purchase scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s all too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise items that don’t exist.
“When shopping online, the best way to keep safe is to buy from a trusted retailer whenever possible, and always pay by card for the greatest protection. If you’re unable to do those things, that should be a big red flag that you’re about to get scammed.”
Here are the most common purchase scams reported to Lloyds Banking Group this year so far, the increase or decrease in the volume of reports compared with a year earlier and the average amount lost:
1. Trainers and shoes, 112%, £152
2. Vehicles and parts, 31%, £1,506
3. Phones and accessories, minus 23%, £229
4. Clothes and fashion, 35%, £166
5. Gaming consoles, minus 64%, £192
6. Event tickets, 603%, £251
7. Holidays and travel, 15%, £798
8. Puppies and dogs, minus 64%, £312
9. Electronic goods, 37%, £174
10. Household furniture, 14%, £344
Here are Lloyds’ tips to stay safe from purchase scams:
– Using your debit or credit card when you buy online can help to protect your money should anything go wrong.
– Fraudsters often use social media to post scam offers. They can even send them straight to your inbox. Always search for deals yourself.
– Check any offer that comes by text or email to make sure it is genuine. Call the sender to find out using a number you trust, not necessarily the one in the message, or visit the website to check. Never click on a link without checking first.
– Low prices and great deals can hide scams. See if you can find them elsewhere. And remember, if an item is selling out, fraudsters can charge more to trick desperate buyers.
– Make sure a seller or website is genuine. Look for good reviews from different buyers. Be wary of mixed, bad or no reviews at all.
– Ask questions before you buy. If an item is expensive, offer to pay a deposit. If a seller cannot give any details about an item or tries to rush you into paying, it could be a scam.