One in Five Online Marketplace Listings Show Signs of Fraud

Around one in five (19%) items listed on UK online marketplaces over Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year showed signs of being fraudulent or dangerous, according to an analysis by Besedo.

In total, the investigation of around 3000 public listings in the month of November found that 15% of items had indications of being scams. A particularly high proportion of consumer electronic products were observed to have these characteristics, with the researchers stating that 22% of PlayStation 5 listings were likely to be scams during the month, which rose to over a third over the Black Friday weekend. Interestingly, only 7% and 5% of competing gaming consoles Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S were likely to be scams, which may be a result of difficulties consumers have had in finding a PS5 available for sale.

Close to one in five (19%) of iPhone 12 products listed also showed signs of fraud.

Besedo also recorded that fashion products on online marketplaces are leaving shoppers at substantial risk of losing their money or receiving fake goods, with 15% of listings found to be counterfeit.

Another area of concern highlighted was the sale of pets on this platform, with close to a quarter (23%) of listings for puppies observed to be scams.

This year, the shift to e-commerce brought about by COVID-19 has increased the risk of consumer fraud, and Christmas shoppers have been urged to be extra vigilant when searching for bargains.

Petter Nylander, CEO of Besedo, commented: “This holiday season really is a one-two punch of risk for shoppers. Fewer gifts will be bought in physical retail stores, as we all work to limit the spread of the pandemic, leaving online retail as the main source for gift buying for many.

“At the same time, anticipated slow deliveries will give scammers more leeway to string along their targets, making it that much harder for victims to know that they’ve been caught out and take the appropriate action. We should all be taking additional care while buying presents this year, triple checking that prices are realistic, that the seller seems genuine and that the goods are what they say they are before pressing the buy button.”

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