Expats warned about scams and fraud when buying online

Expats warned about scams and fraud when buying online

Expats warned about scams and fraud when buying online

Expats are being warned over the risks of online purchases.

British citizens moving overseas for reasons of work or retirement mostly use at least one offshore bank account with online access, especially since British high street banks began closing the accounts of long-standing customers after they relocated to another country. As a result, online security is a priority as scams in which customers lose all or most of their savings are regularly reported.

One favourite focus for scammers is online shopping, as many British expats use the service to purchase foods or other items unavailable in their new countries of residence. Recent research reports suggest as many as 45 per cent of online shoppers have either known someone who was scammed or have been scammed themselves. Hacking resulting in money being stolen from online accounts or even simple online fraud are both risks of online shopping, with victims in the UK losing an average of £725 per person. Figures for expat-related scams aren’t available as yet, but may well be in excess of these figures.

Cybercriminals operate all across the world, often focusing on bargain-hunting expats attempting to stretch their monthly income a little further. Other tactics used by fraudsters to part expats from their savings include email messages from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Britons planning their relocation overseas are being urged to ignore phishing messages from social media platforms inviting clicks on links to services or products on fake websites designed to steal banking information.

Using insecure overseas public wi-fi connections is one way to get scammed unless you have a VPN installed on your device, and newly-arrived expats should realise online deals which seem to be ‘too good to be true’ are rarely true. Using credit cards rather than debit cards for online purchases is one way to protect your savings as, should you be scammed as a result of an online purchase, you’ll only have to wait for your card provider to restore your credit line.

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