Barclays has found that increased pressure to find perfect Christmas gifts is putting the public at risk of online scams.
A new study has found that two thirds (65 per cent) of parents would use an unfamiliar site to find the must-have toys of the year, with 16 per cent saying that the Lego Star Wars BB8 is the most in-demand present for children this Christmas.
Samantha White, who leads Barclays’ work to keep customers safe from fraudsters, said: “Scouring the internet for the perfect Christmas gift can be stressful, but if you lose sight of digital safety and just focus on the price you could fall prey to festive fraudsters.
“Look out for ‘too-good-to-be-true’ deals, and always take the time to check that the website you’re buying from is legitimate.”
The Paw Patrol Sea Patroller (13 per cent) and LOL BIG Surprise Doll (12 per cent) follow close behind on their children’s wish lists.
Across the UK, almost seven in ten (69 per cent) Brits say they feel under pressure when buying gifts for their loved ones at Christmas, with one in five (22 per cent) of these shoppers admitting to ‘panic buying’ presents as a result.
A similar proportion (20 per cent) visit websites they wouldn’t normally buy from in order to find the right gift.
This stress and panic creates the ideal opportunity for fraudsters to strike; one in five (19 per cent) gift givers would be willing to register and save their personal details on an unfamiliar website, while one in 10 would pay via bank transfer to someone they didn’t know in pursuit of the perfect present.
With one in three Brits considering present buying to be one of the most stressful aspects of the festive season, second only to battling crowded shopping centres and busy high streets (39 per cent), it’s important that online safety is not overlooked.
Six per cent identified the possibility of buying from a fraudulent website as a festive stress trigger, despite the fact that the average victim loses £893.
Instead, people are more than three times as likely to worry about seasonal overspending (20 per cent), with one in four (26 per cent) resorting to buying their loved one’s gift from whichever website offers the cheapest price to save on cost.
With more than a quarter (26 per cent) of scam victims having been scammed over the Christmas period, Barclays is warning everyone to stay vigilant when shopping online this December.
Almost half (48 per cent) of former victims of online scams were buying for someone else when they were targeted, with one in seven (14 per cent) admitting to being more preoccupied with finding the right gift than checking the legitimacy of the website.
Clothing topped the list of gifts most likely to get you scammed, affecting 17 per cent of former fraud victims.
Electronics (16 per cent) took second place, with health and beauty products (8 per cent) and digital content such as movies, music and computer games (8 per cent) sharing joint third place.
This coincides with some of the most popular gifts on Christmas shoppers’ lists.
Clothing, beauty products and jewellery topped the list of items to buy a spouse or partner, games and electronics took the top spot for sons, clothing and electronics for daughters, and food and drink was the most popular choice for dads.