While Black Friday is officially tomorrow (November 26), there have been plenty of deals circulating since the start of the month – especially in the run-up to Christmas.
However, as the holiday season approaches, it is still a good idea to be extra careful with what you buy online, especially if it’s a site you’ve never visited before.
There is a common saying that if it’s too good to be true, then it usually is – and this year is no exception.
While many people stay away from unfamiliar websites, there are four common websites that you visit almost every day that are equally bad for questionable offers – and buyers are now being reminded to be extra vigilant. when they grab their card.
But which sites put us at the greatest risk of being scammed?
According to the latest data from the Royal Bank of Scotland, which recorded the number of scams from September 1 to November 22, 2021, Facebook Marketplace is the most reported site for use by scammers before Black Friday – one of the busiest online shopping periods of the year.
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In addition to Facebook, it seems social media sites are now at the top of the scam list with Instagram in second.
Common scams on these networking sites often offer products at heavily discounted prices where the seller will often ask you to pay by wire transfer before the products are received.
In some cases you may never receive the item, they will claim it was lost, or you may get something different than what was pictured.
In third place, eBay continues to be used by scammers and is closely followed by Gumtree in fourth place.
Jason Costain, Fraud Prevention Manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Don’t let fake influencers or sellers steal your Christmas by sending them payment for gifts you will never receive. This is the favorite time of year for scammers, so make sure you are on guard when purchasing products you’ve seen on sites like Facebook Marketplace and Instagram. “
How to avoid getting ripped off this Black Friday and Christmas
Royal Bank has tips and advice to help you shop safely as Christmas approaches:
- Beware of unexpected emails: Fake emails and text messages are circulating – beware of unexpected emails, texts or phone calls that appear to be from a real organization or business. Scammers use them to steal your personal information. If in doubt, do not click any links or download files.
- Be extra careful when you receive emails asking you to update your payment information: Many of us will have received an email from Amazon UK announcing that we no longer accept UK Visa credit cards as a method of payment. Although this ad is genuine, you should be careful of emails asking you to update your payment information. Royal Bank advises you to make changes by going directly to your Amazon account and not to click on any links provided in an email. Phone calls from Amazon asking for personal or financial information, or to update payment details, can be a scam and you should hang up. Identity theft of trusted organizations by fraudsters is a growing crime.
- Don’t be surprised when you buy online: Everyone loves a good deal, but be careful when shopping on social media and online marketplaces. Always do your research on the seller and if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Check the contact details on the website, if there is no address or phone number, it indicates that the site may not be genuine.
- Use secure websites: Make sure your browser’s web address begins with “https: //”. The ‘s’ at the end indicates a secure connection. Keep an eye out for misspellings or strange characters in the web address – this can sometimes mean a bogus site. However, remember that a secure page does not mean the retailer is reputable.
- Always use a secure payment method: Pay with your debit or credit card – it’s a safer way to pay and gives you more protection. If a seller tells you they can’t accept a card payment and asks you to send money directly to them, it could be a scam. Scammers often cook up stories to try to persuade you to transfer your money to a bank account instead of paying by some other method – beware of anyone who asks you to do so.
- Do not give anyone your full contact details: The crooks are convincing. If someone, claiming to be from the bank, the police or some other organization you trust, contacts you and asks you for information such as login details, access codes, reader codes. card, remote access to your device, or tells you to transfer money from your account – don’t, it’s probably a scam.
Contact your bank if you are not sure whether a message or call is genuine, the best number to call is 159.
The Royal Bank of Scotland also offers its clients free Malwarebytes software to help them boost their online protection.