Avoiding Black Friday & Cyber Monday Scams

2020’s epic shopping weekend of Black Friday through to Cyber Monday saw shoppers defrauded of over £2.5 million by criminals. 

Over £15 million was lost to fraud in the run-up to Christmas in 2020, and there were more than 28,000 reports of scams costing on average more than £500 each. Action Fraud, the national reporting center for fraud and cybercrime, reported that the incidence was up by 61% in 2019.

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, said: “If you think you have found a bargain that is too good to be true, it probably is. Stop and think before making a purchase, as it could protect you and your money.”

We all love a bargain, so instead of telling you to avoid Black Friday and Cyber Monday all together, we’re asking you to avoid the scams instead. Here are the best ways to protect your money whilst looking for your next bargain!

Don’t Directly Transfer Money

You won’t have any kind of protection against fraudsters and scammers if you simply transfer money from your account to theirs. Services like PayPal have their own schemes that allow scammed buyers to be reimbursed.

Keep Your Guard Up on Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces may very well be the home of the modern-day bargain, but it’s also home to the modern-day scammer. Some scammers don’t go down the route of fake sites to draw you in, they lie waiting on the sites you already use, like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Gumtree. With some well-placed ads and well-written listings, fraudsters don’t have to come to you, they can wait for you to approach them. 

With online marketplaces, it’s so important to keep your wits about you and remember to check out how reliable each seller seems. You should take note of previous reviews, how long the seller has been selling on that platform, and the payment method they’re requesting. As we mentioned in our first point, it’s always best to avoid paying via direct bank transfer wherever possible. 

Check the URL and the Site

Before clicking on any link, you should always check it to make sure it actually looks right. If there are letters missing or extras added, or words are spelled incorrectly, you’re most likely dealing with a scammer. Many fraudsters set up websites or phishing scams with URLs similar to big-name brands, in the hopes that they look just enough like the actual site to be mistaken for it. 

Similarly, it’s important to have a look at the site you’re on before you make a purchase. Scammers often don’t take the time to check that their spelling and grammar are correct. This can be a huge tell-tale sign that you’re dealing with a scammer. 

If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is.

As Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, aptly said, the reality is if something seems as though it’s too good to be true, it likely is. There’s no getting around the fact that some goods and services just can’t be provided for the costs that are sometimes advertised by scammers. 

There’ll be some great deals in the run-up to Christmas, but there’ll also be people looking to exploit those who are looking for great deals.

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan