Experts warn of Black Friday fraudsters

Retailers gear up ahead of Black Friday.
Retailers gear up ahead of Black Friday.
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Researchers at Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) have issued a fresh warning for shoppers not to be rushed into bagging a bargain this Black Friday as 15 million online shoppers could be putting themselves at risk of financial fraud.

Fraudsters are luring shoppers onto fake websites to steal card details by offering limited time discounts and flash sales advertised through scam emails and dodgy social media ads.

The research shows that 31 per cent of online shoppers admit that they are more likely to take a financial risk if an online retailer offers them a bargain and almost one in five (19 per cent) of online shoppers admit they would click on an unsolicited email if it promised them a good deal.

Financial fraud

“Consumers need to know that they may not see the impact of financial fraud immediately, i.e. during this shopping weekend, because if a criminal has harvested their financial details, they could use them at any time,” warns Senior Fraud Prevention Officer, DCPCU (Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit), Tony Blake.

The research also added that more than a third (36 per cent) of consumers admit their shopping habits change when faced with an opportunity to bag a bargain.

“It is easy to forget the dos and don’ts about sharing personal information if you feel rushed into making a purchase and are under pressure,” says Tony.

Fear of missing out

According to the research those aged 16-34 are most at risk, with almost half of that age group (46 per cent) admitting to be more impulsive shoppers, compared to 18 per cent of people aged 55 or over. Additionally almost a quarter (24 per cent) admit their FOMO (fear of missing out) on a great deal leads them to let their guard down when it comes to online shopping.

Tony adds, “It really does pay to ‘Take Five’ by doing your research when making an online purchase, particularly if you’re using a website for the first time.”

How to stay safe on Black Friday

Take Five before you buy. If you’re using a retailer for the first time, always take time to research them before you give them any of your details. Be prepared to ask questions before buying

Trust your instincts – if an offer looks too good to believe then there is usually a catch. Be suspicious of prices that are too good to be true

Be sure you know who you are dealing with. Always access the website you are planning to buy from by typing the address into your web browser, and be wary of clicking on links in unsolicited emails

Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar. It’s a good indication that they’re reputable

Only use retailers you trust, for example ones you know or have been recommended to you. If you’re buying an item made by a major brand, you can often find a list of authorised sellers on their official website.

To report a fraud and cybercrime and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

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