Warning As 100 Online Fraud Cases Logged A Day
Loan seekers and bargain holiday hunters are among thousands being targeted by online fraud scams, authorities have warned.
Official statistics reveal that 17,430 cases of online fraud have been reported in England and Wales so far in 2014 - an average of more than 3,000 a month or 100 a day.
Online scams were the most common fraud reported in 2013 - costing UK consumers £63m.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said council trading standard teams are warning people of the dangers of being duped into giving out personal details online.
Some of the scams reported include fake money-lending websites asking applicants to pay up-front fees, sites selling fake plane tickets and emails informing residents they are entitled to a council tax discount.
Small businesses are also being targeted by fraudsters claiming to be from Google or Facebook offering to improve companies' internet search list prominence.
Ann Lucas, chair of the LGA Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "Cunning and opportunistic scammers are increasingly using the internet to con people out of millions of pounds across the country every year.
"The online crooks are constantly developing new scams to try and cash in on tough economic times by preying on vulnerable people with the lure of cheap loans, cash prizes, council tax refunds or bargain holidays.
"If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is and people should never be embarrassed to report falling victim to a scam."
:: To report an online fraud scam, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit the website.