Every seven minutes, a customer in the UK falls victim to an online shopping scam originating in one of the two Meta-owned platforms, costing consumers more than 5,00,000 pound per week, a new report has shown.
Research from the UK-based Lloyds Banking Group estimated that over two-thirds of all online shopping scams affecting consumers start on Facebook and Instagram, reports The Guardian.
“Social media has become the wild west of online shopping in recent years. This has left consumers increasingly exposed to ruthless fraudsters, with hundreds of new victims targeted every day and tens of millions of pounds flowing to organised crime gangs each year,” said Liz Ziegler, the banking group’s fraud prevention director.
“It’s high time tech companies stepped up to share responsibility for protecting their own customers. This means stopping scams at source and contributing to refunds when their platforms are used to defraud innocent victims,” she added.
Moreover, the report said that Lloyds is the second bank in a month to publicly name Meta, after UK-based Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) said there had been a huge jump in the number of scams originating from sites and apps owned by the US-based company.
According to the study, clothes, trainers, gaming consoles, and mobile phones were among the most commonly falsely advertised items.
Based on data collected from its 25 million-plus retail customers, the banking group found that 68 per cent of all purchase scams now began on Facebook (including its Marketplace site) and Instagram, accounting for about 40 per cent of the total amount lost to this type of scam.
Using its data along with recent industry statistics, the bank estimates that UK consumers lose over 27 million pound per year through purchase scams on these platforms.
According to TSB, Meta-owned websites and applications accounted for 80 per cent of the bank’s three biggest fraud categories — impersonation, purchase, and investment.
Meta said that fraud and scams were “an industry-wide issue, and scammers are using increasingly sophisticated methods to defraud people in a range of ways including email, SMS and offline,” the report mentioned.
“We don’t want anyone to fall victim to these criminals which is why our platforms have systems to block scams, financial services advertisers now have to be Financial Conduct Authority-authorised, and we run consumer awareness campaigns on how to spot fraudulent behaviour,” it added.
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