This Friday, 25th November 2022, marks the biggest shopping event of the year. The hunt will be on for the best deals ahead of Christmas.

However, shoppers are being urged to remain cautious of online scams, with young people aged between 19 and 25 most at risk. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) revealed that £15.3million was lost to scams during the festive period last year, with the average loss being £1,000. [1]

Fraudsters can be articulate and financially knowledgeable. They may have credible websites, testimonials and materials that are hard to distinguish from the real thing. They can come in many forms, but all are designed to get hold of your money.

Spotting a scam

The advances in digital communications have opened new and easier ways for scammers to target you and steal your information. Common scams include:

  • Phishing – an email scam where you appear to get a message from a legitimate source or company. Often it will encourage you to click a link and log into your account. The email link actually goes to a fake website which collects your information.
  • Fake delivery notification – just like the phishing scam. You’ll be invited to click a link to accept your delivery, where your personally identifiable information can be stolen.
  • Vishing – a phone call pretending to be from your bank or reputable company. During the phone call, the fraudsters will attempt to get you to reveal your personal details.
  • Purchase scams – when you are tricked into sending money directly to someone else’s account via bank transfer. Often start on social media platforms with victims being offered cut-price or hard-to-find goods.
  • Authorised payment fraud – you might get a text or WhatsApp message from a new number, telling you that they’re a friend or relative that needs money. The messages can be worryingly convincing, if in doubt, call or message the person they’re pretending to be on their old number to double-check.
  • Safe Account scams – contact, usually on the phone, by someone claiming to be from your bank. They’ll say your account has been compromised in some way and encourage you to transfer all your money from your bank to a ‘safe account’.

Lloyds Bank says purchase scams are one of the most significant risks and the most common type of authorised fraud. The rate of these frauds around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is 29% higher than usual. [2]

How to protect yourself online
  • Avoid buying from unfamiliar retailers
  • Don’t be pressurised into buying
  • If a deal is too good to be true, it usually is
  • Don’t click on unfamiliar links
  • Use credit cards rather than debit cards for online purchases as they provide more protection
What to do if you are a victim of fraud

If you’ve been caught out by a convincing scam that has resulted in you transferring your money into another bank account, you should contact your bank immediately. They may be able to stop or recover the funds once they are notified.

If you think you’ve been targeted by a scam or fallen victim to fraudsters, contact Action Fraud at 0300 123 2040 or at Action Fraud.

Personal circumstances differ and not all of this information is applicable to every client and/or their business, this information is general in nature and should not be relied upon without seeking specific professional financial advice.

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