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How to avoid losing money through Black Friday scams

How to avoid losing money through Black Friday scams
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With the world’s biggest shopping event approaching, many shoppers are starting to consider what to buy on Black Friday weekend. However, if your goal is to save money, it may be just important to think about what you shouldn’t be buying in the sales.

To help you to save your money and shop safely this weekend, here’s how to avoid Black Friday scams.

‘Tis the season for Black Friday scams

While there are plenty of excellent deals available on Black Friday, the event is also extremely popular with scammers. Last year, £15.4 million was lost to scammers over the Christmas period. According to Action Fraud, the majority of this cash was lost to deals that were simply too good to be true.

Both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are hectic events. Stock can sell out within seconds and the fear of missing out on great deals can lead you to buy more than you need. This makes it easy to fall victim to criminals.

The most common Black Friday scams

The majority of Black Friday scams are cyber attacks. This means that you should remain vigilant when spending your money online. While you can never determine exactly when you will come across a scam, there are several widely used types that can be easily spotted.

The most common types of Black Friday scams are:

  • Phishing email scams
  • Fake delivery messages
  • Fake charity donations
  • Misleading social media adverts
  • Fake websites

How to spot a Black Friday scam

Almost every retailer will offer fantastic deals over Black Friday weekend. As a result of this, consumers become less wary of crime and are more likely to fall victim to scammers. A survey by Barclays found that last year, £2.5 million was taken by scammers on Black Friday alone. The same survey found that 59% of Brits will change their behaviour when shopping for deals.

Luckily, you don’t have to miss out on Black Friday to avoid falling victim to a scam. There are plenty of ways that you can become a more vigilant shopper and avoid scams this weekend. Here are some things to look out for.

Prices are shockingly low!

Even though Black Friday is all about grabbing the best deal, retailers still have to make a profit on the items they sell. Consequently, it is unlikely that items will be discounted by more than about 70%.

When shopping the sales, always stop and ask yourself, “Is this deal too good to be true?” The best way to check whether a price is legitimate is to compare it across multiple retailers by using a price comparison tool.

The website is badly designed

If you’re shopping online, a great way to tell whether a deal is legitimate or not is to look at the quality of the website. Scammers are aware that people make rash decisions on Black Friday and tend to focus more on jaw-droppingly good offers than checking the reliability of their websites.

They can become sloppy with their website design, and as a result, fraudulent websites are often easy to spot. Here’s how to tell if a website is unreliable:

  • The web copy is riddled with spelling mistakes
  • Pictures are low quality
  • The website has an unclear layout
  • Dodgy pop-ups/ads appear across the site
  • Pages are unfinished or empty

The account that you’re paying has a different name to the business

When buying something online, always check for red flags during the payment process. One clear indicator of a scam is the name of the account that you’re paying not matching the name of the business you’re buying from.

Most reliable businesses have a separate business account that payments are made to. An unrelated payment account could be a sign that the business (and therefore the product) doesn’t exist.

The website URL has no SSL encryption

SSL certificates show that a website is secure. To obtain a certificate, websites must have SSL encryption in their URL. SSL encryptions ensure that all data handled by the website remains safe and secure. This is particularly important when making payments through a website.

It’s easy to check whether a website URL has SSL encryption. Firstly, check whether the URL begins with ‘https:’. If it does, the website is secured with SSL encryption. You can also tell that a website is encrypted if it has a padlock icon to the left of the URL.

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