11 million shoppers victim of online fraud as new safety measures postponed

30 October 2019

Millions of online shoppers are losing out to fraud while regulators drag their heels on introducing rules to protect them

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One in every five UK consumers have fallen victim to fraudsters when shopping online, according to findings from secure payments solution Shieldpay – around 11.5 million people. 

Shoppers are defrauded by an average £683, but one in 10 lose more than £1,000. Scammers often target victims more than once; where this happens individuals have on average £1,400 stolen. 

Consumers were promised more protection from online con artists with new European regulations called the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules, which are designed to reduce fraud and make online payments more secure. 

The rules will ensure electronic payments are performed with multi-factor authentication, to increase the security of electronic transactions. Initially scheduled for introduction last month, the tougher requirements will now not be in force until 31 December 2020, because financial firms and retailers have said they need more time to prepare.

A spokesperson for UK Finance, a trade body for the financial sector, says: “Two-factor authentication will add an additional layer of protection for online card transactions, and the industry is working hard to implement these changes in a way that balances both convenience and security.” 

Online fraud is often associated with older people but Fraud Tracker research has found victims are often younger and lose larger sums. 

A quarter of aged 18-34 year olds have been defrauded while shopping online at an average cost of £767. Nearly one in six (16%) have handed over more than £1,000 to fraudsters. 

Tom Clementson, director of consumer at secure payments solution Shieldpay, says: “It takes just moments for fraudsters to target unsuspecting consumers and their methods are becoming more advanced. Initiatives like confirmation of payee and strong customer authentication have been kicked into the grass to the benefit of retailers but to the detriment of consumers.  

“People must take their online safety into their own hands. Simple steps like only shopping on trusted websites, checking the website is secure and never clicking on links in unexpected emails go some way to keeping money safe.”

The UK Finance spokesperson adds customers should check their bank and credit card statements regularly and if they spot any unfamiliar transactions, contact their bank or card company immediately. 

"Always remember to follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and take a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information in case it’s a scam."

Consumers are protected against unauthorised fraud losses on a debit or credit card.

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