Unsurprisingly, online sales fraud is one of the most common forms of cybercrime that a consumer may encounter. Online sales fraud sees consumers pay for goods which the seller has no intention of delivering.

As e-tailing soars, so has the number of individuals duped by illegitimate sellers. Since 2013 the City of London police have been running operation Ashiko. A project which has seen 22,084 clothing websites, 15,975 footwear websites and 3,591 brands have been shut down for selling counterfeit bags, accessories and jewellery in the government's crackdown on illegitimate goods1. Often these sites are used to collect personal payment details to commit further crimes. The criminals perform dishonourable transactions, collect the payment but have no intention to deliver the goods.

We asked expert Dr Mark Hawksworth, Global Technology Specialist Practice Group Leader at Sedgwick International UK about what the biggest warning signs of online sales fraud are:

'It is very easy for criminals to carry out online sales crime as they are not physically present during the purchase. The seller usually doesn’t realise that they have been subject of fraud until after the goods have been sent. It is common for the buyer to have no rating or a poor feedback history and will ask to purchase the item privately, often not through standard prescribed methods such as PayPal.'

Dr Hawksworth also offered advice on how to protect yourself against online sales fraud:

'There are several ways to protect yourself from online sales fraud such as checking the buyer's feedback history, not sending items before they are paid for, make sure you send items with recorded delivery and keeping logs of messages between yourself and the buyer'

To help protect your further UK General offers online sales fraud cover to reimburse for the loss of financial transactions which a person has been dishonestly induced to enter by a third party. This can include shipping goods for which payment is not received within a reasonable time.

Online sales fraud is becoming increasingly common. If you’re interested in understanding more about what our online sales fraud cover can offer, get in touch today. Email sayhello@ukgeneral.co.uk or call 0370 421 4503.

1 https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/50000-websites-found-selling-counterfeit-12852933

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