Black Friday deals or scams?

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November, 2020 

Scammers are out and about ahead of Black Friday, creating all sorts of fraud to get your money.

So, how do you know if a Black Friday deal is real?

Discounts and bargains are what scammers prey on during these sale times, in the hope that your desire for the deal outweighs your common sense, and that you’ll click and hand over money at a moment’s notice without too much thought.

Some of the warning signs to look out for, include products that are advertised at an unbelievably low price, sounding too good to be true, or they require up-front payment.

A couple of examples could be:

  • an iPhone selling for well below what you’d expect to pay for it.
  • a video game system that is out of stock everywhere else, yet magically its available and has a big discount, too.

Protecting your personal and financial information is as simple as thinking before you click on any links that are sent to you via SMS, email or social media. Online shopping scams often involve fake websites that are almost identical to the genuine retailer’s site. Always access retailer sites via their official website, rather than via an email or SMS they’ve sent you.

If you do happen to purchase something that’s fraudulent, not only will you most likely not receive the goods, but you’ve also given up your personal and payment information to the cybercriminal, which can have huge financial consequences.

Top tips:

  • Look at the senders email address if you receive an offer. Whilst the email might look legitmate, the email address can be a clear giveaway if it has additional alpha or numeric characters, or if it doesn't even include the supposed retailers name.
  • Look at grammar, spelling, and whether the message even makes sense. Scammers might well take advantage of a sales opportunity, but few scams have a solid comprehension of the English language, and that can make them easier to spot.
  • If you receive an offer, do not click on any 'shop now' links.  Only access and shop through the retailers official website.
  • When subscribing to mailing lists of your favourite retailers, create an email folder in your inbox that places inbound messages from those specific sender addresses into it. That way, the subscription emails are correctly moved to your ‘retail offers’ inbox and anything else that is sent and sits in your inbox should be treated with suspicion.
  • Pay attention to the social media accounts of retailers, because that may mean tracking official deals, and even being able to respond if a scammer attempts to trick you with one bad deal of their own.

Ultimately, being aware of scams and how they work is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t get conned, so if you receive anything that sounds too good to be true, even during sale season, question it and whether it could be real, because that could save you from being conned.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s usually a scam.

For more information on scams, visit the Scamwatch website, including how to make a report and where to get help.


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