Lloyds Bank has warned customers over a new scam that could see people lose hundreds of pounds to fraudsters.

The popular bank noted a sharp increase in the number of people being targeted by these practices which have seen people lose an average of £427.

The bank said that while people lose on average over £400 to these scams, those aged between 55 and 64 are more than double that at £1000.

Lloyds commissioned its own research into scams, finding most of these fraudulent activities begin on platforms like Facebook Marketplace or on Instagram.

With people on the lookout for lower-cost items amid a 20% rise in the price of popular goods like trainers, clothes, gaming consoles, and phones, more are beginning to fall victim to new scams.

This is especially the case during the Christmas rush when people are trying hard to get everything they need before the big day.

Fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank, Liz Ziegler, said: “With people especially keen to bag a bargain this Christmas given the cost of living squeeze, heartless fraudsters will be ready to trick unsuspecting victims out of their hard-earned cash.

“Online shopping scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the vast majority start with items advertised on social media, where it’s too easy for fraudsters to use fake profiles and advertise goods that simply don’t exist.

"The safest way to pay for things online is always by debit or credit card, and buy from a trusted retailer. Remember that if a deal looks too good to be true, it usually is.”

Lloyds Bank's 6 tips for staying safe from fraud online

Here are Lloyds Bank's tips for staying safe when buying cheaper items online: 

1. Use your credit or debit card

This adds a layer of protection to your money should anything happen.

2. Check for the item elsewhere

Lower prices can hide scams so see if you can find it elsewhere, scammers can also use low availability to trick buyers.

3. Be wary of social media posts and direct messages

Search for deals yourself as targeted ones may be a scam.

4. Make sure the website or seller is legitimate

Look for good reviews for sellers and be wary of mixed or bad reviews

5. Ask questions before buying

If the seller struggles to give specifics or tries to hurry you, it may be a scam.

6. Never click on links from messages

Always visit the site even if the message purports to be from a genuine company.