Purchase scam cases jumped by around a third in 2023, says Santander

3 April 2024, 11:04

Man using Tablet pc. Credit card, Shopping online.
Man using Tablet pc. Credit card, Shopping online. Picture: PA

In 2023 Santander customers reported losing £7.3 million to purchase scams originating on online selling sites and marketplaces.

Santander saw cases of purchase scams jump by nearly a third (32%) last year, compared with 2022.

The bank said that of the total number of purchase scams reported to it in 2023, 80% started on online selling platforms or marketplaces.

Santander has teamed up with Gumtree to warn shoppers about what to look out for.

Last year, Gumtree removed 1,177,292 listings from across its platform for failing to meet its posting standards and policies.

Of those, 42,725 ads were removed because of suspicions of fraud, a decrease of 31% annually, which Gumtree said is thanks to an improved safety infrastructure which has prevented scam listings being posted in the first place.

According to Gumtree’s data, the most popular listings for criminals to create fake posts about include smartphones, games consoles, digital cameras, headphones, dogs, collectables and guitars.

Joseph Rindsland, head of trust and safety at Gumtree, said: “We’ve invested heavily in recent years in technology to prevent scam posts making it to our site and thanks to this, the volume of suspicious listings we’re having to remove is falling month on month.

“But scammers are tenacious, and we still removed tens of thousands of posts in 2023.”

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud risk management at Santander said: “More than ever, scammers are homing in on our love of grabbing a bargain.”

Here are some tips from Santander and Gumtree for avoiding a purchase scam:

1. An item priced more cheaply than expected, or using generic images that could have been taken from an online search, could be warning signs of a scam.

2. Items for sale can often be filtered depending on postcode and location. Shop local, and make sure you see the item in person first.

3. Use secure payment methods where you can. PayPal and debit and credit cards may offer more protection than a bank transfer.

4. Attempts to communicate outside an official website should also be treated with suspicion.

5. Check how long the seller has been a member of the selling website for and look at their profile, including reviews from other buyers. If the seller has been posting from multiple locations within a short timeframe, that could be another reason to be cautious.

By Press Association

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