Watch out for Black Friday scams

Black Friday is here, and it is not just shoppers that are excited about it. Fraudsters are also hoping to cash in. Data from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has revealed that people lost £15.3m during the festive period last year – with the average loss being £1,000.

With many shoppers searching for sales steep enough to beat inflation, scammers are likely to take advantage. Below are five of the most common scams you will see this weekend.

Suspicious links

Scammers will try many tactics to get you to click a malicious link, these could appear in an email, text message or even a targeted ad on social media. 

Don’t click on a link unless you’re absolutely sure it’s legitimate.

If you do receive a message with a potentially suspicious link while shopping, double-check the message sender’s contact information to make sure it matches the company they claim to represent.

If still unsure, look for a legitimate phone number or email address and contact the company or your bank directly to request more information on the issue.

Billing error scams

Last thing you’ll want to hear is that some of your purchases didn’t go through and might be cancelled. Scammers often pose as major retailers and email shoppers saying their billing information is incorrect and has to be changed immediately to not lose out on an order.

Their aim is to draw you into entering your bank details into a fake website. If unsure, contact the retailer directly.

Browser extension

Especially during the holiday shopping season, no doubt you will see a rise in offers to download “money-saving” browser extensions.

Some of these are legitimate, and can help you unlock discounts or cash-back offers however, most Black Friday deals will be advertised up front on retailer’s websites. If you do want to install a browser extension, research it on a reviews website like TrustPilot first to see if it’s suspicious.

Fake product review

Fake Amazon reviews have soared this year, these are used to lull people into scams. These often feature unusual turns of phrases and are over-packed with technical jargon.

Be on the lookout of overly generous, repetitive and extremely misleading comments, ensure you compare with reviews on legitimate organisations like "Which?".

Pay securely

Use a credit card where possible when shopping online. Most card providers protect online purchases and are obliged to refund you in certain circumstances. Using a credit card (rather than a debit card) also means that if your payment details are stolen, your main bank account won’t be directly affected.

Whenever you pay, look for the closed padlock in the web address bar – it means your connection is secure.