GMP Advice on Stopping Online Fraud

Date: April 6, 2023
Categories: 11-15 | 16-18 | 19-24 | 25+ | Featured

Over the past month Greater Manchester Police’s Economic Crime Unit have seen an increase in online shopping frauds. From analysis of the data the increase is specifically in victims under the age of 18 years. As a unit we are working hard to expose and bring to justice criminals in relation to fraud. However, we are also working hard to educate and protect the public in order to prevent them from being a victim of fraud/ further victim of fraud.


What is online shopping fraud?

Shopping and auction fraud involves fraudulent shopping scams that rely on the anonymity of the internet.

 Ways to protect yourself

  • Make sure you’ve installed the latest software and app updates. Criminals use weaknesses in software to attach your devices and steal information, such as your payment details.
  • Use a strong, separate password for your email account. Criminals can use your email to access other online accounts, such as those you use for online shopping.
  • Don’t click on a link in an unexpected email or text. The volume of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period. Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Spot the signs

  • You’ve bought goods from an online seller that are either late in arriving or don’t arrive at all.
  • You’ve received goods from an online seller that don’t match the original description.
  • You’ve given identity details or personal financial information to an online seller who has used them in criminal ways.

How it happens

As the popularity of internet shopping and online auctions grows, so the number of complaints about transactions is increasing. Some of the most common complains involve:

  • Buyers receiving goods late, or not at all
  • Sellers not receiving payment
  • Buyers receiving goods that are either less valuable than those advertised or significantly different from the original description
  • Failure to disclose relevant information about a product or the terms of sale.

If you are a victim of shopping or auction fraud, the most immediate problem is that you have no real prospect of returning the goods or having your money refunded.

After this, there is a risk that your identity details could be compromised. Fraudsters could steal your identity and use it to access your personal finances or obtain goods or finance from alternative sources.

How to report it

If you have been affected by this, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting the Action Fraud website.

You can access many of the services provided by Greater Manchester Police online at the GMP website. For emergencies only call 999, or 101 if it’s less urgent.