Fraudsters bagged a staggering £67 million from British online shoppers last year, warns UK Finance.

Shockingly, there were 117,000 reported instances in 2022 of online shoppers tricked into depositing cash directly into criminals' bank accounts, driving losses through nefariously promoted frauds on social media and auction sites.

Yet, these reported losses only scrape the surface.

The actual numbers are considerably higher, as most purchase frauds go unreported.

Get Safe Online, a public-private sector partnership promoting internet safety, has teamed up with the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in Cumbria to provide tips and advice for residents ahead of the Christmas shopping season.

Providing a frank warning to consumers, Cumbria’s Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Mike Johnson, said: “Many of us will go online to buy gifts for Christmas, especially on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to try and get the best deals we can – especially in a cost-of-living crisis. However, this can leave us vulnerable to scams.

“Cyber-criminals are experts at concealing their true intention and building social media channels and websites that seem genuine, so we all need to be really careful around who we trust online as prevention is the best way to combat fraud.

“By following Get Safe Online’s tips and advice, you can stay safer when browsing online and, if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

“I would urge everyone to read the information on Get Safe Online’s website

“If you have been the victim of a scam, please report it to Action Fraud on 0300 2040 123.”

Echoing his concerns, Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, stressed: “Falling for a purchase scam is easier than you think. Many people still believe that fraud is easy to spot, and isn’t something that can happen to them, however amateur adverts and websites are becoming a thing of the past.

"It’s upsetting at the best of times, but the impact is felt more profusely when money is tight. So take care when shopping online this Christmas and remember if something feels ‘too good to be true’, it probably is”

Get Safe Online has shared some easy-to-follow safety tips.

They urged not to transfer money directly to unknown individuals or firms. If it is fraud your bank may not be able to recover or give you the money back.

Instead, they suggest paying by credit card if possible.

They also suggested vigilance when investigating the authenticity of a website, including checking its spelling, or verifying the website's legitimacy on

Fraudulent advertisements are rampant across online marketplaces, forums, and social media, and people should learn how to spot them.

Safety measures also include not clicking on unexpected links, ensuring the security of payment pages by making sure it begins with 'https' ('s' stands for secure), logging out after making payments, and avoiding the intentional purchase of counterfeit goods.

Additionally, users must be watchful about 'low-cost' or 'free' trials by reading the small print and seeking independent reviews.

A common fraud tactic involves text messages or emails from supposed home delivery firms demanding a re-delivery charge or shipping fee.

Hence, keeping a shopping record and noting the delivery firm's details could save consumers from falling prey to such scams.

Lastly, they stressed the significance of reporting fraud to banks and to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, to help trace the culprit and possibly recover stolen money.

You can call Auction Fraud on 0300 123 20 40 or visit