Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping events of the year, offering consumers the chance to snag some incredible deals on everything from electronics and appliances, to fashion and beauty products. However, with the huge surge in online shopping over the past few years, there has also been a corresponding increase in the number of scams and frauds that take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers.
As a UK consumer, it’s important to be aware of the types of scams that are prevalent, so that you can protect yourself and your finances from falling victim. Here are some of the most common scams to look out for:
- Fake websites and phishing scams
One of the most common scams is the creation of fake websites that mimic legitimate retailers. These sites may offer impossibly low prices on popular items, but in reality they are designed to steal your personal information and credit card details. Some scammers may also send out phishing emails that appear to be from a trusted retailer but actually contain links to fake sites or malware that can infect your computer.
To avoid falling for these scams, always double-check the URL of any website you’re shopping on, and make sure it’s the official site of the retailer you want to buy from. Be wary of links in emails or social media posts, and never enter personal information or payment details on a site that doesn’t have a secure connection (look for the padlock icon in your browser’s address bar).
- Fake deals and inflated prices
Another common scam is fake deals or exaggerated discounts. Scammers may inflate the original price of an item to make it seem like you’re getting a bigger discount than you actually are, or they may offer items for sale that were never actually in stock at the original price.
To avoid these scams, be sure to do your research ahead of time and compare prices from multiple retailers. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is, and you should double-check the original price and the retailer’s reputation before making a purchase.
- Gift card scams
Gift cards are a popular item during the holiday season, but scammers may try to take advantage by offering fake gift cards or stealing the balance from legitimate ones. Some scammers may send out emails or social media posts offering free gift cards or claiming that you’ve won a prize, but in reality, they’re just trying to get your personal information.
To avoid gift card scams, only purchase gift cards from reputable retailers and never enter personal information in exchange for a gift card. Be wary of any unsolicited emails or social media posts offering free gift cards or claiming that you’ve won a prize.
- Delivery scams
Finally, scammers may try to take advantage of the high volume of deliveries during the holiday season by posing as delivery companies or stealing packages from your doorstep. Some scammers may send out emails or text messages claiming that a delivery is on its way and asking for personal information or payment details, while others may follow delivery trucks and steal packages from doorsteps.
To avoid these scams, always double-check the delivery company’s name and tracking details before entering any personal information. Be sure to track your packages and arrange for someone to be home when they’re delivered or consider having them delivered to a secure location such as a post office or locker.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great opportunities to grab some amazing deals, it’s important to stay vigilant and protect yourself from scams and frauds. By following these tips and being cautious when shopping online, you can ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable holiday shopping experience.