This year, mega shopping event Black Friday falls on 24 November, followed by Cyber Monday on 27 November. But it’s not just retailers that are trying to attract customers with offers and special deals – criminals take advantage too.
To help you stay safe online, here are some common scams:
The offer alert – SPECIAL OFFER! AMAZING DEAL! ACT NOW!
If you get an email or text message about an amazing bargain, resist the temptation to click on links in the message. Instead, visit the retailer’s website and search for the offer. And if you get an email about unusual activity on your account, go directly to the website to check, rather than clicking a link.
“Sorry we missed you . . . “
Beware of messages or cards claiming to be from the post office or delivery firms about packages you’re not expecting. You may be asked to enter personal details or call a premium rate number because you’ve missed a delivery or there’s a problem with your order. Always use the retailer’s website to track your orders.
The fake website
Cyber criminals are experts at creating fake websites that look identical to your favourite retailers. Hackers can also manipulate search engines to place their own dodgy links near the top of the search results, so check the website address before you click. Don’t enter your personal/payment details if you see any signs that the site isn’t trustworthy, for example:
- The site looks unprofessional or contains broken links
- No business address or policies
- The back button is disabled so you’re stuck on the page
- No padlock icon in the address bar and the address doesn’t start with “https” – meaning the website doesn’t use a secure connection
If the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you’ve fallen victim to fraud, act fast and report it to the police, your bank or credit card provider, the retailer you thought you were buying from and ActionFraud.