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Black Friday Weekend: Prime Time for Online Scammers
Despite the obvious benefits of the Black Friday weekend, it is important that you are aware of the potential dangers.

With so many people taking to online shopping over a single weekend, scammers see this as an ideal opportunity to con people out of their money.


Phishing Emails

Phishing emails probably take up the largest proportion of scams that occur over the Black Friday weekend.

A lot of genuine retailers take to marketing emails to inform their customers of the deals coming up over the weekend. This makes most peoples’ inboxes inundated with emails containing ‘Black Friday deals’ in the subject line.   

Unfortunately, fraudsters have caught onto this and are able to send out their own.

These phishing emails will look like they have come from a genuine retailer, offering deals, vouchers or discount codes. There will be a link included which, instead of leading you to the deals like they said, will actually lead you to a fake, malicious website that will ask you to enter you personal and bank details.

The malicious website may also host viruses and malware which will then be transferred to your device.

Once you have entered your details, the scammer will be able to steal these and use to commit further fraud and thefts.

Top Tips
  • Even though genuine retailers can offer good deal over the Black Friday weekend, be cautious about deals that sounds just too good to be true as they probably are.

  • A genuine retailer will never ask you to put in your personal and bank details as the first action you do on their website.

  • Install an anti-virus software on your device to protect it from viruses and malware if you accidently click on the malicious link.

  • Phishing emails are normally written and sent out by scammers in countries outside the UK. Therefore, a lot of them contain spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes – this is a good sign to look out for when assessing if an email is genuine.


Social Media Adverts

Another common Black Friday scam is fake adverts posted on popular social media sites like Facebook.

With billions of people using social media every day, adverts are seen by huge audiences which is why this is a perfect opportunity for scammers.

They are able to post adverts of the same malicious websites they try and steer people to in their phishing emails. Once you have clicked on the advert, you will be taken to the fake shopping site which will probably look quite genuine. They often use images stolen from genuine retailers so they look authentic, or, they will post images of well-known expensive brands and advertise them at a cheaper price.

Then, when you go ahead with your purchase, you will be asked to enter you personal and bank details, like any genuine retailer, but you will never receive what you ordered. The scammer will also keep your details in order to commit identity theft and other fraud.

Top Tips
  • When you go onto any retail website, check the address bar to see if there is a green padlock and the word ‘secure’. If there isn’t, assume the website isn’t safe and leave it immediately – and definitely don’t enter any details.

  • Remember, deals that are too good to be true, probably are.

  • Don’t assume that the advert is for a genuine website just because it is on a social media. Anyone can post these adverts.


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