BLack of Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t just on the radar of buyers and retailers – crooks are taking every opportunity they can to exploit our eye for a bargain, and last year they took advantage. busy shopping days to defraud UK consumers of £ 2.5million.
According to banking organization UK Finance, theater tickets and electric scooters are targeted by criminals, but he adds “whatever giveaway you seek a deal on, scammers are likely to seek to exploit it” .
You can reduce your chances of being scammed by taking the following steps when shopping.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
If a retailer offers an item for a much lower price than everyone else, stop and think before you open your wallet – and if you’ve never heard of the seller before, or followed a link to from an unsolicited email or social media post, back off. Some of these “too good to be true” prices will be for counterfeit products; some will be for items that don’t even exist. Lloyds Bank says shopping scams involving failed merchandise cost victims an average of £ 190 each, and the top 10 items involved include popular Black Friday purchases such as phones, game consoles and the coaches.
Criminals have sometimes used cloned websites to trick victims. Therefore, if you are following a link to a retailer, you should examine the URL to verify that it is genuine. If you are entering the URL yourself, be sure to check the spelling before handing in the payment information – if you’re unlucky, a typo could land you on one of these malicious sites. . Away from the address bar, check spelling and grammar – poor English and lots of spelling mistakes should be cause for concern.
Do not pay by bank transfer
Paying money directly from your account to someone else’s is not secure, so don’t be persuaded to do so. Credit and debit cards offer ways to get your money back if something goes wrong (for credit card payments the item must cost over £ 100 for Section 75 protection to take effect), and PayPal has its own refund system for buyers who don’t get what they paid for.
Find the retailer
When using comparison tools like PriceRunner or Google Shopping, you can find a good deal at a little-known retailer. Before handing over your money, be sure to do your due diligence. Check the website for company names and addresses, which you can check on the Business House website. If there is no address on the website, it could be a fake. Find the retailer on a review site such as Trustpilot. People don’t hesitate to post if they’ve had bad experiences, and a number of one-star reviews and nondelivery stories should be a strong warning signal.
Be very careful in online marketplaces
Genuine websites can also be used by scammers. Data from NatWest shows that its customers have reported scams that started with ads on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, eBay, and Gumtree. If you’re tempted by everything you see advertised on these sites, take a look at the seller’s history: are they new to the platform or do they have a good track record? Do they have good reviews from past buyers? Use the courier services on the platform and don’t be persuaded to pay by wire transfer.
Beware of texting from delivery companies
The danger doesn’t end once you’ve paid for your goods – until they arrive, you may be exposed to scammers who are profiting from the online shopping boom. Text messages and emails claiming to be from delivery companies and asking for payment or personal information before attempting a new delivery has been a growing industry this year. Think twice before you click on the link and give out information. Visit the retailer’s website and use order tracking to see where your package is, and if you think there’s a chance the text or email is genuine, go straight to the carrier’s website. without clicking on the link.