Black Friday or Hack Friday?

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With Black Friday just a few days away, it’s estimated that UK consumers will spend a staggering £3.95 billion this year over Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The average spend per person this year over the weekend is predicted to be a little under £190 per person, which is £85 lower than last year, because of the rising cost of living.

With the cost of living becoming a huge issue for many, the potential discounts and sales offered by retailers across Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be more compelling than in previous years.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday offer some amazing discounts and deals that are often unmatched in other promotions. Unfortunately, the weekend also provides cyber criminals and attackers with additional opportunities to steal from consumers and businesses online.

Last year, an eye watering £15 million was stolen, with the average loss sitting at £1000.

Top scams to be vigilant about include:

It looks too good to be true

It probably is. Here are some questions you should ask and answer before buying:

Is the offer available on an authorised retailer’s website? If you’re browsing on social media and the account sends you to a website to purchase, be vigilant, is it the genuine website that it appears to be?

Are there specific T&Cs along with the offer that apply only to that deal? This could make returning your purchase impossible, or expensive

Is the product the exact and genuine product you’re looking for? Go directly to the website you want to purchase from; compare pricing from the manufacturer if you can, as well as more than one other retailer

Is it a product for a doll’s house? A surprising number of consumers have been caught out with this one!

Do the payment options appear genuine? For example, can you pay by credit/debit card, or PayPal? If you’re only offered one payment option, this should be a red flag

 

Dodgy websites

If you’re searching on a search engine for deals, you might well find that you visit websites that aren’t familiar to you. If that’s the case, make sure you check that the website is legit.

You can do this in a number of ways:

  • Check that the company’s social accounts link to the same website that you’re being taken to by search engines
  • Check that if you’re visiting an Amazon shop, it really is an Amazon shop
  • If the website rushes you into paying, this could be a marketing tactic, but it could also be a scam – really examine why it is you’re being rushed
  • If there’s only one payment method, watch out. Most legitimate retailers will offer credit and debit card payments, as well as PayPal, bank transfer and sometimes payment plans
  • Check the URL of the website – hackers often make subtle changes to website addresses like spelling errors to redirect consumers

 

Tracking scams

With so many shoppers hunting for bargains over the Black Friday weekend, it can be pretty easy to lose track of what you’re expecting to be delivered when.

This is when tracking scams could get you.

Text messages are often sent by delivery companies, to make it easier for people to keep up to date on when their purchases will be delivered. The trouble is, scammers also use these to steal your credentials.

The NCSC has guidance on its website about these scams, including advice on how to spot them.  If you’re worried whether or not a text message about a delivery is genuine, follow these steps:

  • Don’t respond to it
  • Don’t click on the link inside
  • Go to the website you bought the product from, and access the tracking information from there, that way, you’ll know you are accessing the right information

Not all messages are bad, but if something doesn’t feel right, follow the NCSC guidance on dealing with suspicious emails and text messages:

 

 

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