The widespread online shift for shopping and mundane chores during the pandemic has seen reported scams rise by a third, figures show.
In the period up to April, around 413,553 cases of fraud were reported to Action Fraud – an increase of 33% over the last 12 months.
Victims lost more than Â£ 2.3 billion as a result of what? said.
The increase is significant compared to previous years, following an 8% increase in 2020, suggesting that the fraud industry is booming during the Covid pandemic.
The ONS crime numbers estimate that there were more than four million cases of fraud in 2020, suggesting that only about 10% of crimes are reported to action fraud.
Online shopping fraud was the most commonly reported type of fraud, increasing by 65% ââcompared to the previous year.
Which? Requests that the Government Online Safety Act give online platforms the legal responsibility to detect, remove, and prevent counterfeit and fraudulent content from their websites, including the ads often used by scammers as a basis for online shopping. Fraud can be used.
There have been more than 103,000 reports of people falling victim to online shopping scams – more than the next three categories of scams combined.
Young people make up most of the reports of online shopping scams. About 56% of reports to action fraud came from 20 to 39 year olds, 34% from 40 to 59 year olds and 9% from 60 to 79 year olds.
Phone and SMS fraud saw the largest increase over the previous year at 83%.
Which? Said scammers appeared to have taken advantage of people’s changing habits, which recently led to an increase in texts allegedly from courier and delivery companies asking recipients for administrative fees for collecting parcels.
The second largest increase was online shopping fraud with a 65% increase while investment fraud increased 50%. Investment fraud was also the largest reported total loss at Â£ 535 million.
So-called ‘recovery fraud’, in which victims are betrayed a second time by criminals pretending to help them recover losses from the original fraud, also increased by 39%, with victims losing an average of Â£ 14,408.
Which? Money Editor Jenny Ross said, âScammers have added to the suffering many people have faced over the past year by using the pandemic and the rise in online shopping as a stepping stone to outsmart a growing number of victims.
âTech giants, banks, telecommunications providers, regulators and the government must keep pace with evolving tactics used by scammers to ensure that people are safe from attack in everyday activities such as shopping.
âThe Government’s Online Safety Act must give online platforms the legal responsibility to detect, remove, and prevent counterfeit and fraudulent content from their websites – including the ads often used by scammers as part of online shopping fraud be used.”