How to stay fraud free this Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday

Black Friday is the commercial name for the day following Thanksgiving in the USA. It was regarded as beginning of the country’s Christmas period and coincide with stores across America slashing their prices.

Cyber Monday signifies the four-day period in which the best deals are available.

This then moved into the online retail industry, with giants such as Amazon, eBay and Tesco saw a huge rise in sales.

Many view this an a marketing gimmick that sees the public go crazy for the best possible deals, with decorum and all sense of reality thrown out the window.

However, there is still a lot of risk to those who buy products online.

Tony Blake, Senior Fraud Prevention Officer at the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) says: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday are prime dates for fraudsters to target distracted and excited shoppers looking for the best bargain.

“As scams become more sophisticated, it is essential that people are aware of the advice on how to protect themselves not only at this time of year but throughout.

“In the rush not to miss out, online shoppers can easily fall victim to scam emails and fake advertisements on social media which promise generous discounts to trick people into clicking through to a fake website and share their card details. Once the fraudsters have these details they will quickly use them to continue to purchase goods online.

“There are ways that consumers can protect themselves. Put simply, if the offer looks too good to be true – it probably is! Don’t click on any links to offers either on adverts or in your email, type the retailer’s website address into your web browser and shop through their secure page.”

Advice from the DCPCU’s Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign outlines top tips to help consumers protect themselves. Seven ways to spot an email you’ve been sent could be fraudulent:

  1. The sender’s address doesn’t match the website address of the organisation it says it’s from. Roll your mouse pointer over the sender’s name to reveal its true address.
  2. The email doesn’t use your proper name – using something like “Dear customer” instead.
  3. There’s a sense of urgency, asking you to act immediately.
  4. There’s a prominent website link which may seem like the proper address, but with one character different.
  5. There’s a request for personal information.
  6. There are spelling and grammatical errors.
  7. The entire text of the email is within an image rather than the usual text format and the image contains an embedded hyperlink to a bogus site. Again, roll your mouse pointer over the link to reveal its true destination.

Blake added: “Always question any calls, texts or emails asking for your details out of the blue. Stop and think before you give away any information, no matter how legitimate the person sounds – remember – it’s My Money? My Info? I don’t think so. If you’re unsure, hang up and don’t reply and contact the organisation directly on a number you trust.”

The key things to remember are:

  1. A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you asking for your PIN, full password or to move money. Don’t give out personal or financial details.
  2. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  3. If you’re approached with a request for personal information, don’t provide it. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.”
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