The biggest purchase scams to look out for in 2024
Thousands of people hunting for tickets, cars, pets, and much more were tricked into handing money over to fraudsters this year, with purchase scams rising by more than two fifths (42%), compared to last year.
Social media was the main hunting ground for criminals, with 78% of purchase scams (by far the most common type of fraud) starting on these platforms. With few checks, no secure payment processes and no financial incentives to protect their users, social media remains infested with fraudsters.
Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director, Lloyds Bank said: “Fraudsters are constantly on the lookout for ways to scam people out of their hard-earned cash and, if you’re not on your guard when shopping online, you may be their next victim.
“Don’t be fooled into trusting a stranger on the internet to secure a quick bargain. Social media is rife with fake adverts from criminal sellers – if something is in demand and hard to get your hands on from trusted retailers, it’s probably unrealistic to think you’ve found it for half the price on Facebook Marketplace.
“Big life purchases such as a pet or vehicle shouldn’t be rushed, so don’t go for the cheapest price from the first person that messages you on social media. Trust your gut and, if something doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t, so always take time to think about purchases you’re making online.”
To protect people from these organised criminals, Lloyds Bank is warning people about the main scams to look out for in 2024 – including top tips on how to avoid them.
|Rise in 2023 (compared to 2022)
when searching for…
|UEFA Euro Championship
Olympic Summer Games
Taylor Swift’s world tour
|Popular events give scammers great opportunities – when tickets are scarce, fraudsters cash in on desperate fans. The two ‘spikes’ for this type of scam are when tickets are released and near to the date of the event.
|Yorkshire Terriers, Rottweilers and Pomeranians
|Never hand over money for an animal unseen and always search through registered charities or breeders
(H2 2023 vs H1 2023)
|Ford Fiesta, BMW 1 Series, Volkswagen Transporter
|Look out for excuses. Viewing a vehicle is necessary pre-payment, so if the seller has endless excuses as to why it’s not possible, don’t hand over money in any circumstances.
|Nike (Air Jordans, Dunks), Ugg, Louis Vuitton, Chanel
|Avoid deals that look too good to be true, particularly for items that are out of stock at traditional retailers. Compare prices from trusted sources and the designer’s official website.
New Year warning: Holiday scams
In the travel industry, the first Saturday after people return to work in January is sometimes known as ‘Sunshine Saturday’, as traditionally it has been a popular time for people to book a holiday abroad. For fraudsters, it’s a peak opportunity to target hopeful holidaymakers.
Lloyds Bank data shows flight tickets are the most common fake item sold relating to holidays, but it’s not just the idea of flying abroad that lures in trusting victims. The popularity of the ‘staycation’ remains high, with caravan holidays the next most popular holiday scam.
Nearly half of all holiday scams originate on Facebook Marketplace, but these scams can happen through more trusted websites such as AirBnB and Booking.com. Victims arrive with their suitcases full for an exciting trip, only to find the address their host has given them is fake or the apartment they think they’ve rented, is actually home to someone else.
Top tip to avoid holiday scams:
- Purchase tickets and hotel stays from trusted retailers or, even better, direct from the airline or hotel. When booking stays, look for valid reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor.
Tips to stay safe from purchase scams
- Be cautious on social media. You don’t know if the user or what they’re selling is genuine and have few ways of checking. A good rule is to only buy things you have seen in person.
- Don’t succumb to pressure. If a seller is trying to rush you, or bombarding you with messages, take a step back and question their keenness as this is likely to be pressure selling.
- Be wary of strangers. If a stranger contacts you out of the blue with an offer, be on your guard, as reputable sellers don’t need to do this.
- Buy from trusted and recognisable retailers. This is the safest way to shop online.
- Pay attention to warnings. Your bank is likely to provide a warning when you set up a new payee or make an unusual payment. Be sure to follow any advice provided.
- Always use your debit or credit card when you shop online. This helps to protect your money should something go wrong.