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Online shopping: Keeping safe during the January sales

4th Jan 22 1:21 pm

It’s that time of year again. With Christmas out of the way, many of us are busy looking at what deals there are to be had in the January sales.

When it came to present-buying for Christmas, almost two-thirds (64%) of Londoners said they planned to shop virtually. But with a fifth (19%) having previously fallen victim to scams in the past, it’s never been more important to stay safe online.

First of all, scammers are more sophisticated than ever before. The pandemic saw more people increase their reliance on digital services, and fraudsters have sadly exploited this.

Secondly, scams and fraud are some of the most common forms of crime in the UK. Although the banking industry was able to prevent the loss of £1.8bn in 2019, criminals were still able to steal more than £1.2bn.

The impact isn’t just financial. It can also have a devastating emotional and physical impact on those affected.

At Lloyds Banking Group, we take our responsibility to keep people safe online extremely seriously. We have some of the most sophisticated technology in the world protecting our customers from fraud. This ranges from advanced payment verification to fraud detection systems – and we constantly campaign to raise awareness among consumers too.

But financial services firms like ours can’t keep the internet safe on our own. There is still much more to be done. Alongside banks, social media and search engine businesses also have a role to play in keeping people safe.

Earlier this year, the government published the Draft Online Safety Bill, which sent a strong message that online scammers will be tackled head on. It was a step in the right direction.

Now is the time to turn that step into a stride.

Fake social media accounts and advertising can be hard to distinguish, but the government could make it a legal obligation for big tech companies to do more to protect users by removing harmful fraudulent accounts and content from their platforms.

The parliamentary committee looking at this law recently recommended this change. The ball is in the government’s court.

Fraud from paid-for online advertisements makes up a large amount of online scamming. By strengthening the approach in the draft bill and making technology and social media companies responsible for protecting consumers from online financial scams, we can better protect all those using online services.

For this to become a reality, we all need to work together – across government, financial services and technology companies. By doing so, we can make the internet a safer place for everyone.

In the meantime, here are three top tips for staying safe online: 

  • Stop – Always take a moment to think before you part with your money or information.
  • Challenge – Ask if anything looks amiss or fake. It’s okay to take time over transactions and to challenge, reject or ignore requests. Genuine, reputable companies won’t try to rush you into a decision.
  • Protect – If you think you’ve fallen for a scam, report it to your bank immediately and get in touch with Action Fraud, even if you’ve not lost anything yet. Some scammers take a very long time before using any information they have gathered, so it’s worth reporting your concerns before you forget.

For more information on online fraud, visit https://www.lloydsbank.com/help-guidance/protecting-yourself-from-fraud.html

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