Black Friday Scams and how to spot them, avoid them and report them.
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) revealed that a staggering £15.3million was lost to scams during the festive period last year, with the average loss being £1,000. Currently, more than three-quarters of all scams take place on Social Media, Dating Apps and auction sites, compared to less than half at the beginning of 2021.
But with Black Friday Scams everywhere, what do we need to look for?
- Fake Delivery Scams – Cybercriminals use this to their advantage to send out fake delivery notifications impersonating popular shipping companies like DHL, UPS or EVRI by text or email. Like with fake order scams, these messages contain a link which provokes you to click on it to accept your delivery. However, these links will take you to a phishing page instead, where cybercriminals can steal your credentials and other personal information.
- Fake Website Scams – This entails slightly misspelling an official website, referred to as ‘typosquatting.’ This scam targets shoppers who misspell a website’s URL in their browser’s address bar leading them to purchase from a fake website. We recommend typing the website into a search browser and going from there. Always check the URL.
- Gift Card Scams – Besides targeting Black Friday shoppers through email or text, cybercriminals also do so at checkout. One of the ways they do this is through gift card scams, where they ask them to pay using a gift card instead of a debit or credit card. This means the gift card is not tracked, and all funds are stolen without the gifts arriving.
So what can we do to avoid getting scammed?
- Use a credit card, PayPal, Google or Apple Pay, as they provide better protection if anything goes wrong.
- Shop with official retailers.
- Remember to ignore any pressure put on you; if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do your due diligence by researching and reading reviews to check whether a website and the seller are genuine.
- Always speak to someone you trust for a second opinion, whether a friend, family member or your bank.
- If buying from social media, never pay for anything upfront.
- Enable 2-factor authentication on your accounts.
What to do if you get caught out in the Black Friday Scams?
- Notify your bank and companies involved – If you see a strange charge on your bank statement or discover a fraudulent account when checking your statements, you should contact the bank or company concerned immediately to inform them that you suspect fraud or theft.
- Cancel your cards – Cancel any cards linked to the purchases made. This will stop any further money from being taken.
- File a police report – In addition to contacting a company, you should also file a police report to get a case number to complete your claim, as many businesses require you to do so. Even if they don’t, filing a report is a good idea as it can help clear your name if you do have your identity stolen.
- Monitor your accounts – If you have been an online fraud victim, it is worth keeping an eye on your accounts for the next few months to ensure no more suspicious activity on your account.
Each year, dishonest individuals scam thousands of people out of their hard-earned cash. Although the internet has made shopping more convenient than ever, it has also made it easier for scammers to take advantage of individuals. Remember, if it feels too good to be true, it probably is.