Shoppers warned of Black Friday scam risk
Shoppers are being warned by a major bank to be extra vigilant in the coming days as scammers aim to dupe them with large purchases averaging £900.
HSBC says criminals are expected to use the traditional shopping discount day ‘Black Friday’ (24 November) and the so-called ‘Cyber Monday’ (27 November) to make money from goods and services that do not exist.
Research from the bank shows that the value of counterfeit goods taken from victims in purchasing fraud is increasing, with victims increasingly coming into contact with criminals when purchasing more expensive items such as TVs and computer games consoles.
David Callington, head of fraud at HSBC, said: ‘Bargain hunters must redouble their efforts to shop safely. Black Friday offers perfect conditions for scammers to ply their trade – not only on Friday, but also in the days before.’
One of the most popular ways to cheat customers out of money is through a fake website that looks real – with ‘too good to be true’ discount levels and ‘limited availability’ that encourages shoppers to panic buy without thinking about the transaction.
Caught in a trap: HSBC research shows the value of counterfeit goods taken from victims of purchasing fraud is increasing
There are also many fake offers on legitimate online platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree.
The majority of traders are legitimate, but this can give customers a false sense of security.
To combat the fraudsters, HSBC says alarm bells should ring if someone contacts you out of the blue via a phone call, text or email – even if they claim to be from a trusted organization such as your bank, a utility company or the Police.
Check out the details of a website or merchant by Googling them and include words like “scam” in the search to see if others have reported issues.
Also keep a close eye on the website. Grammatical errors can be an indication of a fake website. Genuine sellers should allow you to pay by credit card. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you have purchase protection if goods or services purchased for between £100 and £30,000 turn out to be counterfeit. Scammers often prefer that you pay via bank transfer.