Retail scams across the UK are threatening the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation, according to new research out today which reveals millions of consumers are shunning small and independent businesses due to misguided lack of trust.
The research commissioned by F-Secure, a global leader in cybersecurity, found that more than half of Britons, a significant 56%, have avoided shopping with small and independent businesses; expressing a preference for shopping with better-known and established brands which highlights a misperceived sense of security when shopping with recognised retailers.
F-Secure’s research reveals that over the past year, 13 million Britons have fallen victim to an online shopping scam, costing the nation a staggering £1.4 billion. Of those who have been scammed, a fifth said they would never shop with smaller or independent online retailers.
However, the reality is that retail scams are not confined to a single type of shopping platform with larger retailers and well-known brands, still being targeted by cyber criminals. Of those who reported being scammed last year, small independents accounted for 27%, only marginally more than large online platforms, which accounted for 23%. Large high street retailers accounted for 21%.
In a bid to help SMEs and reassure consumers, F-Secure’s experts are helping Britons to spot the warning signs of fraudulent activity across all online retailers as shopping scams are expected to surge over the next two months during the festive season, which could cost the nation over £800 million in Christmas shopping alone.
Tom Gaffney, F-Secure, says: “SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and so it’s alarming to hear that over a third of UK consumers, who have experienced scams (35%), will only shop with well-known brands that they feel are more reputable and 14% said they are no longer confident shopping online.
“Our research shows, the perception remains that SMEs pose a greater risk but actually no retail type is immune from cybercrime. Better education is needed here to help consumers spot when something is amiss which could prevent fraud and still allow legitimate small retail businesses to survive.”