Victims of shopping deal scams lose up to £2,000 – here’s how to stay safe on Black Friday

Victims of shopping deal scams lose up to £2,000 – here’s how to stay safe on Black Friday
A legitimate website will never ask for your PIN number or bank account details (Photo: Shutterstock)

by Zlata Rodionova

Black Friday is arguably one of the best days of the year to grab a bargain, but it also presents scammers with a golden opportunity to make a quick buck.

Careless shoppers are being warned to watch out for online shopping scams during the sales events, as a new research from Barclays suggests they could lose out as a result.

Victims of high value scams lose dearly

Almost two-thirds of high value shopping scams – where someone spends over £1,000 – result in a person being tricked out of £2,000 or more, according to the bank’s research. That’s more than the average monthly UK salary.

In one in five cases (21 per cent) it results in losses of more than £5,000.

In the frenzy of activity and deal announcements for Black Friday, it is easy to lose track of where the offers are coming from and click on malicious links.

Shopping scams, where the victim pays in advance for goods that are never received, make up a staggering 78 per cent of all reported scam cases.

Adam spent £100 on an empty video game box

Adam Clarke, 36, from Lincolnshire, spent £100 on an empty video game box in a Black Friday scam he fell for last year. The father-of-three usually uses the shopping event to buy Christmas gifts for his family and some treats for himself.

As passionate gamer, he always purchased video games ahead of their initial release on trade forums, which are often considered as untrustworthy.

“I bought the latest Civilisation game together with additional downloadable content for £100 ahead of its release last year. This could be worth as much as £1,000 so it was a huge saving,” he said.

Adam Clarke spent £100 on an empty video game box he bought on Black Friday last year
Adam Clarke spent £100 on an empty video game box he bought on Black Friday last year

“I got the box a few days before Christmas but it turned out to be empty. I went back to the website and found the initial post but it had been changed to say that only the box was for sale.

“Because it’s not an official website there were no terms and conditions or consumers rights I could rely on.

“My only solution to get my money back would have been to take them to court but that costs even more money. So I learnt from my mistake and moved on.”

Adam now only shops on official online retailers like eBay and Amazon.

He added, “Both of these online retailers also have tips on how to avoid scammers, which I find very helpful and would now advise everyone to read.”

Clive got charged £150 instead of £3

Clive Wells, 71, from Barking, Essex, lost £150 when buying a Christmas gift for his wife. The pensioner, who admits he can be a little bit “naive” when shopping online, clicked on an online pop-up to receive free beauty products.

“The beauty products were from an email I received that asked me to answer a quick survey for a chance to win £100,” he explained.

“It was not a recognised company. However, once I completed the survey, the website said it had a special offer on beauty products to say thank you, which I thought my wife would like.”

Clive entered his payment information online to receive the goods in exchange for a small £3.00 postage and packaging fee. He received his items, but as much as £150 had also been taken out from his account.

The pensioner said, “When I saw the unexpected £150 taken out of my account, I was very angry and disappointed as it is a lot of money for a pensioner to lose.

“I have been greatly put off from buying and paying for things online and if I do, I make sure it is from a legitimate website. Whenever I receive these kind of emails I now delete them straight away.”

How to avoid scams

Ross Martin, Barclays head of digital safety, advised shoppers to avoid deals that seem “too good to be true”.

He said, “As thousands of us chase a deal on that new laptop this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, criminals are getting ready to jump on anyone who lets their guard down.

“My advice for Black Friday shoppers – beat the fraudsters by staying alert. Warning bells should start to ring for those deals which appear too good to be true.”

Barclays top tips for staying safe this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

  • Think before making a purchase
    On shopping sale days, people take significantly less time to purchase household items. One in 10 take under five minutes, compared to one in 25 on a non-sale day. Be sure to stop and think before you buy – is the website the real deal?
  • Don’t ignore your concerns
    One in four are planning to make purchases this Black Friday even though 52 per cent have concerns about being scammed. Do not click on any links, or open any attachments in emails from people you don’t recognise.
  • Learn from previous mistakes
    Shoppers need to be vigilant in learning from mistakes. Over half (54 per cent) would still make a purchase at a shop they were previously scammed at. Never give out your PIN or online banking password – legitimate websites won’t ask for it.
  • Watch out for deals that are too good to be true
    On average, shoppers expect to spend nearly £300 this, Black Friday, with some committing to spending up to £750. That’s quite a sum when you think that could cover a month’s rent or a holiday to Spain. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t expect to spend everything you have saved in advance
    Some 42 per cent of people put money aside in advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Keep an eye on your bank balance so that you can spot and report fraudulent transactions quickly.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, inews