Northern Ireland

Christmas: Northern Ireland online shoppers lost £152,000 in 2014

Keyboard Image copyright PA
Image caption Consumers in the Northern lost over £150,000 through online shopping and auction scams

Christmas shoppers in Northern Ireland lost over £150,000 to online shopping and auction scams in the 2014 holiday season.

Consumers were particularly vulnerable in the days leading to Christmas between 20 to 23 of December, as well as on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The PSNI received 162 reports of fraud between November 2014 to February 2015.

Victims lost 42% more money in 2014 compared with 2013.

Vigilant

The PSNI Economic Crime Unit, as well as consumer groups Action Fraud and Get Safe Online, are warning shoppers to stay "vigilant" during the holiday period.

"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," said PSNI's Det Ch Insp Ian Wilson.

The most common item bought and sold by victims of fraud were mobile phones.

Other reports included consumers being defrauded while trying to buy footwear, clothing, watches, gaming consoles, computers, furniture and home electrical products.

Too good to be true

"This Christmas we want everyone to think about their online activity, especially when they are about to buy something over the internet," said the PSNI's Com Chris Greany.

"When it comes to online shopping if something looks like it is a great bargain it's probably poor quality, fake or doesn't even exist.

"Fraudsters and online criminals are relentless and will stop at nothing, giving absolutely no thought as to whether you and your family are left without presents at Christmas time."

Get Safe Online's Tony Neate said the figures show an increasing trend.

In the last few years, we have seen the numbers for online crime at Christmas go up and up, particularly as the hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains keeps getting bigger," he said.

Read here on how to stay safe online this Christmas.

Related Topics

More on this story