Scams Awareness Month: A quarter of Britons have been the victim of an online marketplace scam

06 July 2017

Beware of 'bargains' online


Online shoppers will go ahead with a purchase even if they think it may be a scam, a survey has revealed. 

According to an article published in this month’s Telegraph, more than a third of scam victims questioned have still tried to make a purchase, even if they think the advert may be a fraud. 

The research, from trading website Gumtree revealed more than a quarter of Britons have been the victim of an online marketplace scam, losing £63.76 on average in each incident. The main reason people fall victim to a scam is because something is perceived to be a good deal. One in five questioned were willing to take the risk because they really wanted something.

Popular categories targeted by online fraudsters include items for sale, vehicles, jobs, services and property. According to the survey, the desire to grab what looks like a cheap deal often overrides people's instincts when shopping online. Items subject to scams tended to be slightly cheaper than others available for sale, but not so keenly priced as to arouse suspicion - making victims think they had spotted a good deal.

The embarrassment factor meant that, after being scammed, one in six victims did not tell anyone.

The report included research among 2,000 people from across the UK and a further 1,000 scam victims. More than a quarter (27%) had been put under pressure to complete the transaction quickly, 17% had been encouraged to pay for the item without seeing it first and 15% had been persuaded to continue their discussion off the website they were using.

While 17% of those scammed said they thought they were getting a bargain, the same proportion also said they thought the advert was convincing.

The findings from the Psychology of Scamming report coincide with Scams Awareness Month, which sees Citizens Advice and Trading Standards Services leading activities throughout the month of July.

Gumtree is working with various organisations to tackle online fraud and help keep people safe. It said it  would look for guarantees when making payments and pay more attention to consumer reviews and seller ratings.

For further details on Scams Awareness Month 2017 visit





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