It was reported this morning that over half of British firms have reported cyber-attacks in 2019, with businesses admitting they are under-prepared for breaches. It seems as though it’s not just businesses falling victim to fraud. New data from fraud tracker ShieldPay reveals that almost half (47%) of people who have sold an item or service online have also fallen victim to fraud.

Research undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of Shieldpay shows that:

  • Nearly half (47%) of people who’ve sold an item or service online have been defrauded by a buyer
  • Average seller loses £2,054
  • Just 19% of people believe online marketplaces offer enough protection for sellers

This totals 7.5 million people in the UK and the financial impact is not to be underestimated; the average amount lost to fraudsters is £2,054, with 10% of sellers defrauded by more than £5,000.

While men and women are equally likely to fall victim, it’s women who take a greater financial hit, losing an average of £544 more than men.

Looking at the tactics that fraudsters employ, one in five (18%) sellers have been forced to give the buyer a refund after they said they never received the item, 13% of sellers had to refund buyers who stated that the product or service wasn’t what they expected and one in ten (11%) were defrauded by a buyer who said the items were damaged in the post.

A further 8% of sellers weren’t fully paid for the work they completed and 7% had buyers threatening to post a bad review online if they didn’t pay them money or do additional work.

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer and SMB at Shieldpay, said: “From cardigans to cars, e-commerce sites and apps have risen in popularity and opened up the world of buying and selling to millions more people.

“However, this doesn’t come without risk. While buyer fraud is well documented it’s clear that seller fraud also impacts millions of people. People should feel confident when selling items or services online and not have to worry they will be short-changed by buyers looking to pull a fast one.

“While sellers need to take some responsibility, greater protection must be put in place to safeguard sellers online. The adoption of increasingly sophisticated technology is one solution that can help eliminate the risk.”