Online brand protection company NetNames has predicted that a whopping £360m ($537m) will be spent on counterfeit goods in the UK alone over the Christmas period.
Around £73m will be spent on Christmas Day, with another £85m expected on Boxing Day as UK consumers succumb to offers that are seemingly too good to be true. All told, NetNames is predicting a 7 per cent increase on fake sales compared to last year.
"Whilst many retailers will slash their prices to attract bargain hunters in the run up to Christmas, consumers may be caught out by cybercriminals selling counterfeits at a seemingly attractive price online," said the company's chief executive Gary McIlraith.
"Consumers must, therefore, remain wary of 'too good to be true offers' for the must-have festive gifts," he added.
The data is based on figures produced by information services company Experian in conjunction with IMRG, the UK's industry association for online retailers. The total predicted UK spend on goods from November 27 (Black Friday) through December 26 in all markets is around £4.33bn, according to Experian/IMRG.
NetNames has the following advice to help consumers avoid falling victim to scams:
- Check when the domain name of a website was registered using http://who.is – do the details match the company?
- Before you hand over any payment details, is the website secure? Is it using an SSL certificate identified by a small padlock or green background in the browser bar?
- What are other people saying about the website online? Are the reviews poor or too good to believe?
Image courtesy of Shutterstock / marymyyr