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Almost 9 out of 10 of purchase scams now start on social media, according to a major UK bank

Purchase scams are where people buy products that either never arrive or aren’t as advertised
Purchase scams are where people buy products that either never arrive or aren’t as advertised Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By Luke Hurst
Published on Updated
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New data released by British bank Barclays shows almost nine out of 10 purchase scams start on social media.

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A major UK bank is calling on tech companies to reimburse victims of scams, as it warns social media is the source of 88 per cent of all purchase scams.

Purchase scams are where people buy products that either never arrive or aren’t as advertised.

Barclays says on average people lose £1,000 (€1,173) to these kinds of scams, which account for two-thirds of all reported scams.

According to the bank’s data, almost nine out of 10 purchase scams start on social media, so the bank believes social media companies should reimburse victims - which would incentivise scam prevention.

Barclays UK CEO Matt Hammerstein said that the data shows tech platforms, particularly social media, are the source of “almost all scams” - but there’s no legal framework obligating the tech sector to support the prevention of scams.

“Without the joint help of tech organisations, the Government, and regulators, we risk enabling the unchecked growth of what is now the most common crime in the UK, hurting countless individuals, and costing our economy billions each year,” he said.

This “epidemic” can only be driven back by halting the scams at their source, he added.

The bank called for four policy changes that would help to prevent scams:

  • Create a cross-government group that can coordinate regulators, policymakers, industry groups, and companies across different sectors to effectively fight scams.
  • Make preventing scams a mandatory measure for tech companies.
  • Force companies to publish their scam data to inform customers of the risks involved in using their platforms.
  • Create a victim reimbursement fund which would be financed by all firms whose platforms were used to carry out scams, including tech companies and banks.

According to their data, 76 per cent of Brits feel unsafe on social media due to criminals carrying out scams on those platforms.

Young adults, aged 21-30, are the most likely to be scammed, and they make up 24 per cent of scam victims.

People over the age of 70 are however the ones who lose the most money to scams - making up a quarter of all the money lost to scammers.

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