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Consumers warned to watch for Black Friday fraudsters

18 November 2015 - 11:01 by Mike Price

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Cybercriminals are likely to be out in force this year during Black Friday, with experts voicing concerns about the threats posed by groups looking to dupe innocent shoppers out of their hard-earned cash, according to the Mirror.

Industry insider, Shane Forster, has estimated that British consumers could collectively be scammed out of over £614,000 on Black Friday later this month. And while this is just a fraction of the £1.07 billion that is expected to be spent in this 24 hour period, it will still leave a large number of people unhappy and out of pocket.

Analysts suggest that consumers should only buy products from sites that they know can offer safe shopping online, avoiding any outlets which are of questionable origin. And if any doubts remain, Forster said it is better for shoppers to simply walk away rather than risk losing money to a scam.

A flurry of new websites built to promote fake goods and phoney sales around events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Boxing Day emerge every year. And while many can clearly be spotted by savvy consumers and avoided as a result, there are still some that are convincing enough to set a tempting trap for the unsuspecting.

Scam sites tend to operate for very short periods of time, cashing in while the hype surrounding an event is at its peak and then disappearing afterwards, leaving customers in the lurch. So sticking with sites which have a reputation for offering safe shopping online is highly recommended.

The quality of a site’s design, the consistency of spelling in copy and the presence of security checks and payment verification systems will be a good indicator of its reputation. Also, the safest way to fight back against scammers is to make purchases on a credit card, since getting a refund in the event of fraud is easier than when using a debit card.