Rise in young adults falling for online shopping scams

More young adults are falling victim to online shopping scams than the elderly in the Northumbria Police force area, warns Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 2:00 pm
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness.

In the last year, younger people have been disproportionately affected by online shopping scams – with 37 per cent of complaints across Tyne and Wear and Northumberland being made by people aged 20 to 39.

Latest figures from Action Fraud also show the age range reporting the most online scams in Northumbria is 20 to 29.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and people spending more time online, online fraud in the Northumbria area has seen an overall increase of 23 per cent in the six months to April 2021, compared to the six months to November 2020.

Ms McGuinness said: “There’s this thinking that we become more vulnerable to fraud as we get older; well that’s not always the case.

“We often hear about older people being conned and targeted by emails or shopping deals, but the numbers paint a different picture. Younger generations, the digital natives who’ve grown up with the technology, are becoming the prime targets.

“People of all ages really can get taken in by these scammers and exploited – the scammers can be very clever and very manipulative – and it’s regardless of age.”

Online fraud increased by a third in the UK during the pandemic, although the category of fraud that grew the fastest during this time was scams over phone and text.

Messages such as those from fraudulent couriers that ask for administrative fees to deliver non-existent parcels surged by 83 per cent in the past year.

Ms McGuinness added: “It can be easy to succumb to the influence of fraudsters selling the counterfeit goods, the dream holidays, the life-changing jobs. People often don’t talk about it or even report it as they feel embarrassed or foolish and they shouldn’t because offenders can be brought to justice and this can stop it from happening to anyone else.

“Cyber-related crimes are a growing threat and we want to raise awareness of this, so we will be looking at running some dedicated cyber fraud campaigns to enhance the force’s investigation of these crimes going forwards.”