Published On: Thu, Nov 16th, 2023

‘Extremely’ convincing Black Friday bank details scam circulating – and how to spot it | Personal Finance | Finance

Shoppers are being urged to “watch out” for fake discount as the number in circulation surges.

Research from Barclays Bank found the reported purchase scams increased by a staggering 34 percent over Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022, with £1,072 being lost on average per person to scammers.

Scammers often replicate email or text message communications from big-name brands that typically sell products at higher price points – which are usually target products for Britons on Black Friday.

Jodie Wilkinson, head of strategic partnerships at digital payment provider takepayments said: “The bogus communication might include fake discount codes and a link to a counterfeit website.

“If a transaction is made on this site, scammers can steal card details and personal information.”

According to Ms Wilkinson, some of the “biggest tell-tale signs” of bogus promo emails are if they’re sent from a “suspicious” email address that contains random letters or numbers and generally doesn’t look official.

She said: “If the email is littered with poor grammar or spelling mistakes, it’s a sign that it’s not from the actual retailer.

“You should also look out for two-factor authentication – also known as 3D Secure Authentication (3DS) – when shopping online. This is a key security feature when making online payments.

“Secure sites that use 3DS will have a Visa Secure, MasterCard SecureCode, or American Express SafeKey logo on them.”

Phishing emails that promote deals on fraudulent gift cards for popular retailers also commonly do the rounds on Black Friday.

Ms Wilkinson said: “Scammers are becoming extremely good at replicating websites for unsuspecting victims to ‘purchase’ or ‘pre-load’ funds onto gift cards, sometimes offering them at sale or discount prices.”

The payment expert urged shoppers to “be wary” of any out-of-the-blue emails they receive, especially if they’re from brands that they haven’t subscribed to.

She said: “Always avoid clicking on any links in any suspicious emails and never share your personal details if the website doesn’t seem secure.

“Most legitimate websites will have customer reviews on their site, often hosted through trusted review platforms like Trustpilot. Customers should always check for positive reviews on a website before purchasing, particularly if they haven’t bought from that brand before.”

This year, Black Friday falls on November 24 and the internet and high streets are currently awash with deals and discounts. In view of this, Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis issued a bleak warning ahead of the weekend.

Speaking on his weekly Money Show earlier this week, Mr Lewis told viewers: “If you were going to buy it anyway and it is half price, you have saved 50 percent. But if you weren’t going to buy it but do cos it’s half price you have wasted 100 percent of your money.”

People can read more about his warning, as well as tips to secure a better deal, here.

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