North a hotspot for online purchasing scams, report says

The North is a hotspot for online purchasing scams, with a tenth of residents being targeted over the past three years, a report said.

The rip off involves victims paying up front for goods that they never receive, frequently on auction websites.

Residents are some of the worst at protecting themselves online, research for Barclays Bank said.

The North also stood out for suffering one of the highest proportions of victims of invoice and romance scams.

Joanna McArdle, director of corporate banking at Barclays in Northern Ireland, said: "Criminals are using ever more sophisticated tactics to trick people into handing over their bank details, or to pay money to a fraudster when they believe they are simply paying their builder or solicitor.

"Northern Ireland has ranked worryingly low in the UK Digital Safety Index, and while obviously not everyone here is going to fall foul of a romance scam, there is a high level of vulnerability to other online financial scams, hacking and account frauds and it is evident that more needs to be done to improve consumer awareness of both cybercrime and cybersecurity."

She said the "digital safety gap" has come about because, as a society, confidence in using digital technology to shop and make payment transactions has grown much faster than knowledge of how to do so safely and this gap is being exploited by savvy criminals.

Northern Ireland is one of the highest ranking UK regions for incidents of multiple types of scams and frauds.

Invoice scams pose a serious problem, in which a scammer intervenes in a legitimate payment to convince the victim to redirect the payment to the scammer's account, as do romance scams, in which a scammer feigns romantic intentions towards a victim and then uses that goodwill to extort money or gifts.


More in this Section

Alleged abuse victim told himself for years there was nothing improper about doctor's alleged actions

Kilkenny man who stabbed his pregnant sister sent to Central Mental Hospital

Jail for teen who 'boasted' to friends after raping girl at party

TD Mick Wallace faces disqualification as liquidator tells court of company's 'systemic, planned' non-payment of VAT


Today's Stories

Two die in Cork and Wicklow while working to repair storm damage

Banks facing fines for tracker mortgage scandal

Judge reveals €17,000 overcharging ‘to give heart to others’

Extra bill for HSE as delay hits €33m hospital system

Lifestyle

A helicopter put a piano on the 150-foot roof of Blarney Castle and other stories from the Cork Jazz Festival archives

Jazz Memories: Famous faces share their favourite moments

Live music review: The Horrors - Icy genius in a thrillingly intimate setting

Choosing a sheltered spot for Maples is vital

More From The Irish Examiner