Fraud continues to be one of the most prevalent crimes in the UK. For the first half of 2023, UK Finance, a collective voice for banking and finance industry, reports that 77% of all authorised push payment fraud originated from online platforms, through fake websites, social media posts and more.

Purchase scams continue to rise, with losses totalling £40.9m in the first six months of 2023 which is a 43% increase compared to the same period in 2022. A purchase scam is one where people make payment for goods that they believe to be genuine, but which never materialise.

Fraudsters are known to use the increase in shopping at this time of the year as an opportunity to scam consumers.

Here are some ways you can stay safe:

Is this website real?

  • Try to buy from genuine websites that you’ve used before successfully
  • If you’re buying from somewhere new, check reviews to see if it delivers what it says it will before paying for the product
  • Check the website name. The page might look like that of a well-known brand (e.g. Apple) but the web address won’t be (e.g. You can use ‘check a website’ to help you determine whether a website is likely to be legitimate or a scam

Think before you click

  • Fraudsters can make real-looking promotional emails or social media adverts that can link to fake websites. Search for the page you want using a search engine rather than clicking links.

Expecting a delivery?

  • Links in text messages about deliveries from couriers like Royal Mail and DPD asking for a fee to release a package will likely be a scam.

How are you being asked to pay?

  • A website that tells you to pay only by bank transfer might be trying to scam you
  • Try to pay using your debit or credit card instead or buy what you need from another website that accepts card payments
  • If you are shopping on an online marketplace such as Facebook Marketplace, Ebay etc. use the online platform’s secure payments option

Keep your personal information safe

  • Think twice about where you feed in your personal information
  • Banks may provide a passcode when shopping online. Never share your Investec online credentials (including One-Time Passcode) with anyone and do not approve any unexpected in-app authentication requests