British shoppers have been warned to be extra vigilant this Christmas from fraud, as findings from Shieldpay’s latest Fraud Tracker reveal that one in five people (20%) have been scammed whilst buying Christmas presents online. Nearly one in 10 (9%) claim to have never received the item they purchased, whilst the rest reported that they received fakes.

Top of the list for the fake presents were electronics (20%), closely followed by luxury goods such as perfume, cosmetics and jewellery (19%), clothing (16%) and toys (14%). Others had been let down thinking they had booked tickets for concerts, flights, and even holidays.

The average value of the fraudulent items stands at £190, although an unlucky few (2%) suffered more significant setbacks, admitting they lost between £1,300 and £5,000. Fortunately, close to one third (31%) managed to replace the present in time for the festivities; although, out of those who bought replacements, one out of five (20%) resorted to buying a different item.

For many more however, the damage was greater. A sorry 17% couldn’t afford to buy another present in time for Christmas, and 15% had to wait until after Christmas to get the item. One in 10 claimed it completely ruined their holiday, causing it to be the worst Christmas they had ever experienced, whilst 17% said their children were unable to get the present they wanted. The ramifications meant that 13% of respondents felt the situation had a negative impact on their relationship with their partner.

Figures from 2017 figures from Action Fraud suggest that Christmas fraud is on the rise, increasing by 25% between 2015 and 2016. Analysis of last year’s crimes by the City of London Police also suggests that 65% of crimes at Christmas were linked to online auctions.

Tom Clementson, Directors of Consumer & SMB at Shieldpay, commented: “It’s terrible to see so many people deceived by scammers, especially at Christmas. Shoppers should take every precaution to ensure they are transacting safely. No-one wants their Christmas ruined by festive fraudsters.