Shop safely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Laurie

Financial Crime

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the most popular shopping days of the year 🛒 When the price of big-ticket items you’ve been dreaming of suddenly plummet in the sales, it’s pretty hard to resist making a purchase! Not to mention the opportunity to bag some early Christmas bargains.

In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become more than just two days of shopping. Nowadays, sales often start one or two weeks before, giving people plenty of time to shop up a storm.

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, spending forecasts are predicting that shoppers across the UK will still spend an estimated £8.1 billion over Black Friday weekend 🤯

We know just how popular Black Friday mega sales are, but we also know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are a scammers dream. Don’t get us wrong, we want you to grab as many bargains as you like this month. But we want you to do it safely!

Read on to find out which scams you need to be on the lookout for when you shop online, and top tips on how to shop safely.

Scams you need to look out for

So, why do scammers love Black Friday and Cyber Monday so much? It’s simple: there are so many more potential victims for them to target. Knowing what to look out for is the first step to outsmarting a scammer. Let’s take a closer look at the scams you can expect to see 🧐

💻 Fake websites

Scammers set up fake websites pretending to be trusted companies that look dangerously like the real thing. They’ll often ask you to click a link to provide your personal details.

A reputable company will never ask you for sensitive information! Always Take 5 and have a good look at the email before you interact with it. You’re likely to spot some classic signs that it’s fake:

  • A misspelt email address
  • Grammar or general spelling mistakes
  • A sense of urgency to hand over information

📑 Fake billing scam

If you receive an invoice for a ‘recent purchase’, you should always check it thoroughly. Remember, scammers can impersonate companies you’ve bought from, so even if you think you made the purchase, the invoice could still be fake!

You may get a message saying that a recent payment hasn’t gone through and to “try again” by putting in your card details or updating your payment information. We would advise you to contact the company you bought the item from to confirm if the invoice is real.

🔗 Suspicious links

Are you a sucker for a good deal? We get it, we are too. But, as easy as it can be to get drawn in by ‘amazing’ offers, these too good to be true deals are usually just that. Don’t fall for it! If you get a text, email, or see an online advert telling you to click a link to get a mega deal - avoid, avoid, avoid.

The link will likely take you to a fake website where you’ll be asked for personal or sensitive information like your bank details. These links can also be designed to install malicious software onto your device in an attempt to steal your information.

🚚 Fake tracking number

Scammers hedge their bets on people placing a lot of orders during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. What’s likely to happen when you place a lot of orders? You can often lose track of what you’ve bought and when it’s coming!

Here comes the scam. You’ll get a text or email with a fake tracking number that you can access by clicking a link or opening an attachment. That should be your first red flag: legitimate companies will never send you a tracking number in an attachment.

If you click on an attachment, chances are it’s a ploy to install malicious software onto your device to steal your information. In the case of clicking a link, this will take you to a fake website where you’re asked to provide your personal details.

Always track your parcels by going directly to the company website you bought them from.

Top tips to help you shop safely

🔒 Make sure the website is safe

Before you even start adding things to your shopping cart, make sure that the website you’re buying from is real and secure. Here’s how:

  • Check that the web address starts with ‘https://’ (‘s’ stands for ‘secure’)
  • A padlock at the start of the address means the site is safe
  • Check for any spelling errors in the site address

📧 Check that emails are legitimate

If you get a suspicious email, or you want to verify that it’s from a legitimate company, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have an existing relationship with the company?
  • Is it the genuine email address or contact number of that company?
  • Is everything spelt correctly?
  • Do they use your name anywhere in the email?

If you answer no to any of those questions, the email could be a scam. Don’t click any links and don’t reply. Delete the email straight away.

🤔 Is the seller genuine?

When buying from second-hand sites, never make a payment via PayPal or bank transfer before knowing the seller is genuine:

  • Check a seller's profile to see what they have sold before and if they seem like a real person
  • If the profile is brand new and they don’t have a selling history, this could be a sign of a scam account

💳 Pay in the right way

If possible, use your bank card rather than cash. This way, if you are scammed, you have more support when trying to get your money back.

✅ Be ready for our security checks

When you’re making an online payment, we need to verify it’s you that’s making the payment through Touch or Face ID or by entering a passcode. Here’s how it works:

  • Enter your card details at checkout
  • Prompted to open the thinkmoney app
  • Open your app and approve the payment

Easy 👊 We know that it’s you who’s making the payment and you can shop with one less worry about your details being stolen.

Remember, if your purchase still gets declined, you’ll need to contact the company you’re buying from, not us.

To read more about the risks of online shopping, read our blog.

If in doubt about anything, remember to Take Five ✋ and Stop, Challenge and Protect to stop fraud.

Read more at Action Fraud.

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