Black Friday, the day where 100's of shops offer huge discounts, is nearly upon us. Retailers use sales and one-day-only promotions to entice people into impulse shopping in the run up to Christmas. The problem is, however, scammers also use Black Friday to prey on customers already prepared to spend lots of money in the sales.
Below is a list of scams which you must be aware of so you don’t get caught out and defrauded this Black Friday.
Phishing emails are a particularly common way in which fraudsters attempt to steal personal details and banking information from victims. Over Black Friday, it’s also very common for retailers to inform their customers of sales and promotions via email too – so this is where criminals take advantage.
The scammers will take any shop that is likely to be taking part in the Black Friday festivities and they will create a fake email address including that retailer’s name. If this retailer has already produced and sent out Black Friday emails, it’s even easier for the scammer as they can simply just copy the email address (and change one or two letters) and the entire contents of the email so it looks identical to the real one.
Somewhere within in the email they will prompt you to click on a link which will take you to the retailer’s website where you can access the promotion. This link won’t take you to the real website, but a bogus one which has been created by the scammer to look almost identical. If you enter any of your personal information or bank details, these will be stolen by the criminal and used to commit identify theft or to steal money.
You should pay close attention to the grammar, punctuation and overall language used in the email. If there are lots of typos, errors or the whole thing is just generally badly worded or formatted, this is a sign that it’s likely to be a fake.Also, look closely at the sender’s email address – not just the display name as the fraudster can put this as anything they want. If there are any unusual spellings, random letters or numbers, or anything that simply doesn’t look normal for a retailer’s email address, then you should be suspicious.
If you’ve bought products from lots of different online retailers on Black Friday, you may occasionally lose track of what you’ve bought and when it will be delivered.
Phishing emails where scammers pose as a courier like DPD, UPS or FedEx, are very common all year round, but especially over Black Friday and the Christmas period when they know that people will be doing a lot more online shopping than usual.
These emails will state that there has been a problem delivering your order and you need to follow the link so you can either reschedule delivery, update your delivery information, or pay extra to have you parcel redelivered (or something similar.) Once you click on the link, you will be taken to a website which has been created by the fraudster to capture your personal and bank details.
During the Black Friday promotions, some retailers may run competitions or prize draws to win gifts, cash or vouchers. A lot of these are genuine but, unfortunately, this is a trend which a lot of scammers have caught onto as well.
These fake prize draws will often be promoted on social media platforms, especially Facebook. The fraudster will lure people in by covering the advert in pictures of brand new iPhones, TVs or cash, for example. To be in with a chance of winning, you have to enter some personal details and answer some survey questions. In reality, there is no prize at all and the scammers are using this to collect your personal data.
Criminals are notorious for using social media messaging platforms to scam their victims. Once a scammer has hold of someone’s contact list on Whatsapp or Facebook messenger, they can send out messages to everyone on that list which appear the have come from the person they have hacked.
Over Black Friday weekend, scammers can send out messages which say that a certain store is giving away free pre-loaded gift cards to spend in the sales, or something of a similar nature. They will provide you with a link to follow which will take you to a website where you have to enter some personal details to receive the gift card. The link may also download viruses or malware onto your device and access your contact details so they can send the same message to all of your family and friends on your behalf.
This is actually a scam performed by some genuine retailers – not criminals. It can be done in physical stores, but it mainly occurs online.
The ‘bait’ is an offer on a high-end product where the price is massively reduced more than any other retailer. The ‘switch’ happens later after you have bought the product, but then receive an email saying there was error and the wrong price was display on the website. Alternatively, you could get to the checkout, told the item is out of stock and then recommended a similar product which is more expensive.
As soon as you become aware that you have been a victim of fraud, report it to Action Fraud UK immediately, either through their online form or by calling 0300 123 2040.
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Last updated: 23 January 2020 | © KIS Bridging Loans 2020 |