In simple terms, fraud happens when somebody uses deception to obtain goods, services and money.
The internet has become a shopper’s paradise, giving us the chance to bag a bargain day or night, but as shoppers make payments online, fraudsters are on the look out for opportunities to cash in.
If you’re swapping a trip to the shopping centre for a spot of online retail therapy, it’s important to think about who you give your credit card details to.
Internet Auction Fraud
As the popularity of auction websites increases, so do the opportunities for fraudsters.
Before buying anything on an auction website find out as much about the company as possible and check if there is any insurance against transactions.
It has been known for a buyer to send a cheque or release their credit card details to a seller who had nothing to sell in the first place.
Ask yourself what you know about the seller. If all you have is an e-mail address, be wary.
Non delivery of goods purchased
You can buy almost anything on a website but the process always involves providing your credit card details.
Make sure the site is reputable - it takes very little effort to create what appears to be a valid website and claim to sell goods. Too many people have been fooled into providing their credit card details only to discover their purchase never arrives and the website disappears from sight.
Avoid buying from a website that doesn’t use a secure transaction to collect your credit card details. A padlock symbol somewhere on the browser should help put your mind at rest.
The internet is full of get rich quick schemes.
Companies with flashy websites may ask for investors and offer fantastic returns on your money but beware - the site will soon disappear and spring up under a different name to fool someone else.
Don't invest based on appearances – they can be deceiving. Read the terms and conditions carefully but be realistic. If something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Fraud is a crime so, if you think you’ve experienced it, we would encourage you to report it.
Many fraud offences must now be reported direct to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud-reporting centre run by the National Fraud Authority.
You'll find more information on our reporting fraud page.